Parable of the Ignored Relative

10 10 2013

Imagine your whole extended family gathers for a big family reunion. It is going to be a great time of fellowship and fun with all your beloved uncles and cousins. So you get all ready and arrive on time at the big house, and you can already hear the laughter and music inside. But you are surprised to find the door is shut and locked. You go around to other doors, also locked. You tap on windows. Relatives see you but turn away and continue their conversations. No one comes to the door, even though many have seen you and know you are outside wanting to come in! How do you feel?

Confused. Hurt. Rejected.old locked door

But there is someone whose feelings are way beyond hurt. The patriarch of the family, who conceived of the family and called the reunion is fuming mad. For someone in the family to be ignored and left out is, to him, unconscionable.

What I am describing? If, in this parable, the patriarch is our Father God, then the family is the church that is not intentionally including in its fellowship any and all members of the family of God but is instead content to maintain conversations with those who are already inside. As a result, it has become an exclusive, segregated clique. The people inside can see outsiders through the windows, but they can’t be inconvenienced to go and open the doors. Or, to give the benefit of the doubt, they are so busy focusing inward that they don’t notice the ostracized relatives outside.

God is bringing family members from different cultures and classes to your city. Some are not in the family yet, and that’s why He has brought them near, they they may come into the circle of His love.And that’s why, I believe, God is disappointed. We’re ingrown. Uncaring. Busy with our activities. And the longer we persist in our self concern the deeper we reinforce the lie that our God doesn’t care.

Some churches have begun to ask some key questions:

Do we care about those outside who are different?

What do the Scriptures say?

What is God saying to us?

Will we obey?


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