Monday, August 2, 2010

Family Life

"Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice."
By Reinhold Niebuhr
I came across this quote this morning and it inspired me to write this blog post. Stephen and I belong to rather large family trees. And in such large groups it's rather difficult to keep things and people in proper order (justice). Justice is the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, fairness, or equity. And if someone in such a large group breaches this concept, they should be punished right? Well not according to this quote by Mr. Niebuhr and not according to God with His greatest commandment being:
31"The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31
What I get out of this quote and this commandment is that in our large family tree we are all sinners and we sin against one another, but if we brought justice to one another in the sense of punishment and no love, family life would not be preserved but would be broken down and destroyed. I feel so fortunate to live in this day and age where the Internet world has allowed me to connect with family tree members that I haven't even met or that I was never given the chance to get to know due to distances between us. Though some of the relationships made this way can be superficial and only scrape the surface of getting to know this family - it opens the door and gives me the opportunity to share God's love which by His Grace hopefully shines through me. Cousin Mickie was sweet enough to blog about finding this "love" within me, her words gave me hope and inspiration to push forward in reaching out to all my family and I pray asking the Lord to give me strength to pursue forward. Because often times my path is rattled by influence of misconceptions or past wrong doings that could cause me to be leery or even close the door and end the opportunity of me sharing God's love. But the fact of the matter is we all have skeletons in our closets but that shouldn't deter us from sharing God's love. Some may think or believe my approach is naive (that I'm bound to get hurt) or that it is disrespectful to share His love (especially if that person has wronged others in the past) - but if we allow these excuses to retract us from sharing His love we retract the opportunity to share His message. So I ask my family, are you living your family life preserving it by the spirit of justice - or do you strive to preserve/sustain it by the spirit of love? I urge all to perform the spiritual works of mercy - not of punishment by justice because we all fall short. Admonish the sinner - be gentle, earnest and encouraging and bear their wrongs patiently and lovingly. It is this way we shall preserve our family.


Gwendolyn Spence said...

Good afternoon Melissa,

Thank you for the post - Jerrick an I are doing well. We enjoy the pictures you send and the family posts.

Love, G

Mickie and Matt said...

Amen to that! I am working on extending my realm of friends and reaching out to family members that I haven't spoken to in years. The family is such a central unit to heaven in my opinion. It's a way to feel like heaven here on earth when everyone is together and happy with no worries or problems to speak of, just happiness. At least that is what I hope it's like!

Cool picture too :)