Family > Friends

"Friends are the family you choose".

 Initially that sounds so sweet, but friends are also the family you can dump if things get too annoying, too complicated, or if a more desirable friend comes along.

In junior high, we signed our notes "Friends 4-ever".  Six moves and a couple decades later, I'm Facebook friends with several dozen and intimate with none. 

FAMILY is different.

Family is meant to be different.

Family is FOREVER.

As dear as it is to have a friend who "is like a sister to me", there is an unquestionable, life-long, unconditional commitment, a "for-better-or-worse-we're-family" element to my relationship with my own brothers and sisters that is vastly deeper than friendship.   Regardless of where we go or what we do, we will never be able to escape our family ties. 

Even the family we get to choose, (the spouse, the adopted child) once they are chosen and they become family, they are forever, "for better or worse". 

What if we made vows to each of our relatives and, like the Jews, posted them as beautiful art in our homes to remind us daily of our covenant.

I take you to be my family (my husband, wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin,...)   "to have and to hold (on to) from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death..."  - The Book of Common Prayer

I choose you.  Not because of your looks, or your talents, or your skills; not because of what you say to me, or can do for me, or how you make me feel; not because of your grades or your pay check; not because of anything except for the fact that you are family, and I forever choose to love you.

How many families hold up to the "better/worse - richer/poorer - sickness/health - test"?
Especially when the worse is beyond bearable and the poorer is bankrupt and the sickness is mentally ill?

"learn first of all to put (your) religion into practice by caring for (your) own family... for this is pleasing to God."  1 Timothy 5:4

We deceive ourselves when we convince ourselves that we have something more important to do than care for our families.  (see Matthew 15:3-9)

FAMILY = the friends GOD chose for YOU.