Kick one and they all rub their shins. That’s how it should be with families. They might have plenty of disagreements amonst themselves, but if anyone else should try to criticise a brother or a sister, ranks are swiftly closed. I remember one roguish family that used to live on our estate. Quite a clan they were. Always falling out, but if they complained to you about a family member, you didn’t dare agree! What they said about each other, and what you were permitted to say, were two very different things.
I really love and appreciate my family – (I have to say that, lots of them read this blog!!!). Seriously, they are a great bunch, with a lot of love and fun. But if there were issues, I wouldn’t think it right for any of us to go airing our dirty washing in public. Gossipping out to others does nothing for building relationships. It creates mistrust and bad feeling.
That was obviously what Abram was thinking when he decided it was time for nephew Lot and himself to part company. (Genesis 13 v 8-9) It was more important that they demonstrated family loyalty than that they hung out together.
In church life, we are meant to be family. And just like families, we should be loyal to one another. Of course differences will occur, and we have to beware that we do not air our grievances inappropriately, especially to anyone outside of the ‘family’. Wrongdoing needs to be lovingly addressed, repented of and forgiven, so that relationships can be restored.
Maybe a test of our love would be to consider how you would feel if a non-believer criticised a brother or sister in your church. Would you agree with them, or would you rub your shin?