二○一九年六月十五日／六月十六日 Click here for English version
Mending Family Ties in Christ
Rev Samuel Tam
A few weeks ago, there was a report in the media about a popular service in Japan called "family members for hire." Where people feel lonely, helpless and depressed because they are part of a single-parent family, or because their spouse has died unexpectedly, they can hire actors from a "Romantic Family" institution to provide warmth and satisfy their emotional needs.
Celebrations of Father's Day and Mother's Day in May and June each year add to the joys of the family. That is very good. The story about "family members for hire" reminds us that we should do our best to build loving relationships with the family as long as we live.
Meanwhile, there are a host of factors that can hamper family ties: personality clashes, different mentalities, different styles of handling matters…. While every family has its own problem, who can tell its cause or suggest a solution?
Thanks be to God, we have been promised love and unity in Christ.
First, the promise of love. "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). God has loved us with an everlasting love, and promised "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Jeremiah 31:3, Hebrews 13:5b). Therefore, we who God loves are not lonely, and we can learn what it means when the Bible says "There is no fear in love" (1 John 4:18). The grace and help of Christ will ease any pain from the lack of love or improper handling or hurting each other. Meanwhile, the redemptive grace of the Lord Jesus Christ draws us closer to God and brings peace to the family (Ephesians 2:14-15). Fences are for protection. They should not be erected within the family to separate one another. Nobody wants to see alienation or antagonism among family members. We have no reason for not caring for each other or not talking to one another.
This is what our faith requires in principle: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:12-13). Indeed, money cannot buy us love. We who are holy and dearly loved in Christ should grasp the love of God and be consoled and encouraged. May we all, through our prayers, learn to follow the Spirit and cultivate unity. May we, through appropriate action in Christ, remove alienation that gets in the way of good family ties.