Science supports the idea that we were born to live together. We're pack animals, and we flourish in settings where we live among people we love. When our families of origin are healthy, they serve as our safety nets. They provide us with shelter, food, acceptance, forgiveness. They encourage us when we fall, and they help us to grow. When our families of origin are unhealthy, however, individual family members suffer.
Those of us who have come from broken or sick families have hope for redemption, however, in the family of God. When we join together in community, we live with God as our father and all people as our brothers and sisters. We find the life-giving relationships that we lack in our birth-families through these healthy communities.
When our family extends between home and church, we find accountability. We are able to break generational patterns of dysfunction, to connect with others in a world that is marked by separation and isolation.
As we endeavor to serve people who may likely come from unhealthy families marked by destruction, sin, and dysfunction, it helps to remember the redemptive power of God's vision for us as members of a family. By regarding the brothers and sisters we serve as part of our larger family, we are able to access this redemption, to bring into reality a new system of life-giving, supportive relationships that can serve to salve sore spirits.