Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Mistaken" for Family

A friend of mine recently confessed that until a few weeks ago she thought that my son belonged to someone else. For three years she'd seen him regularly with another boy and figured they were brothers.

It's been happening a lot lately. Family relationships have been assumed where they don't exist. It can be a very easy mistake to make actually. We make assumptions based on what we see, without complete information.

So, I have been believed to be married to a  CYC colleague I was visiting a church with. A friend took my son and I out for lunch, to a museum and for ice cream and Jordan was repeatedly asked, "Are you having a nice day with your folks?"  Another friend and I took all of our kids out to a local restaurant, without our spouses, and the waitress assumed we were one family.

Well, wait a minute. Maybe we are. Not in a legal/social sense of course. But perhaps those who look at us and see "family" are seeing a real connection. Because this doesn't happen all the time. When I meet clients or other contacts at coffee shops and such, we usually don't get mistaken for being related.

In all the cases above, though, there is a connection through Christ. One of the people above prayed for me recently, referring to me as "my friend and sister" as he addressed God about me and I am pretty sure he meant it. He's helped me out in some pretty difficult circumstances, been there when it counted.  Maybe that showed when we went to church. Maybe a similar closeness showed in the other settings, too.

The Bible says that people will know we are Christians by our love. C.S. Lewis notes that the most important relationship between people in the Bible is that of sibling. Many churches use the terms "Brothers" and "Sisters" to describe members. And when it's real, it's noticeable.

Of course, the strangers in my stories have frequently mistaken me for being married to someone other than my actual husband. I suppose that is because in society's eyes a man and woman out together, especially if they are both corraling the same children, are going to be looked at that way wherever their closeness comes from. Which is a good argument for being careful about our assumptions. Really, though, I haven't particularly minded, but my husband might, I suppose.

Anyway, my point is that in Christ, we are family. And I love that. It's an awesome feeling to know that I have so many siblings out there.

How about you?

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