The last sermon in the series unpacked the cost of our vertical adoption, and the implications on horizontal adoption. There was a moment in the sermon when the preacher was sharing about the personal challenges he and his wife had faced in the adoption process. A couple of people in their lives had pushed back on the decision to bring a kid into their home and he had been forced to draw a line in the sand: want to be a part of my life? You’re going to have to accept my kid. Love me? Love my kid. If you can’t love my kid don’t say you love me. We’re a package deal.
It got me thinking a little bit about the nature of family.
It’s not that Aaron is unforgiving and mean. It’s not that he won’t let you be his friend if you won’t accept his
kid. It’s just that love and family don’t work that way. You can’t possibly expect a parent to believe you really love them if you reject their kids.
Family is weird. And love is weirder.
God says something pretty similar:
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:14-15 ESV)
God makes a bold statement to us in this text: Love me? Then love my kids. Don’t love my kids? You can’t say you love me. We can’t have God and not have His kids.
God’s command for us to love one another isn’t just a neat idea. It’s also not something we do to earn God’s affection. Loving other Christians is an indicator of how we feel about their Dad: our eternal Father.
You know what else works this way? Marriage. Once a friend gets married, you lose the luxury of ignoring their significant other. From every day on, they’re a package deal. You can only get so close to a person if you’re unwilling to embrace their spouse.
You love them? Then you love their spouse. The two became one. If you get irritated or annoyed by their spouse, you work through it . If you feel weird around their spouse, you get over it. You do what it takes to develop a healthy friendship with that spouse because that’s what it means to love your friend.
And guess what? It’s no different with God.
It is straight up un-biblical to think that you can love God, have an active relationship with Him and hate the Church.
You love God? Then you love the Church. He comes with a bride. It’s a package deal.
I’ll give you this: His bride is crazy. She’s a mess. I know that first hand. I spend most of the hours in my life in therapy sessions with her; trying to convince her to act a little more like she’s married to the God of the Universe, reminding her of what’s true.
The Church is indeed an imperfect spouse for our Savior and King, but nevertheless, she’s still His wife. And you better watch your mouth when you talk about her.
As Augustine says:
The church is a whore, but she’s my mother.
Maybe it’s time we examine our hearts and ask ourselves: when did we stop believing that God is a real person, a real father and real husband with real feelings about how we talk about his family? When did we start to think that we can go deep with Him while ignoring, and secretly disliking, His family? How we feel or speak about his wife and kids is a testimony to how much we actually want a real relationship with Him.
Want to experience the joy that’s available in deep intimacy with God? Want to know Him better? It’s going to mean learning to love His wife and kids.