Family Talk

Mike Schumann

The word Family is emotionally-loaded. It can warm the soul with nostalgia and wholeness, and it can cut the heart like a dagger. Often, at least in our culture, the word family causes a rolling of the eyes — “Oh, family.…” It connotes a unique kind of annoyance. Sometimes annoyance on the level of laughable, almost loveable, and, other times, an annoyance that says, “That’s the last straw, I’m done with you all.”

And we gauge how someone feels about their family, not by how often they’re together. Some families get together all the time yet show little love for one another. Rather, we gauge someone’s love for their family by how they talk about their family.

  • Do they talk lovingly of their family members? “She is so hard-working,” “he is so patient,” “they are so kind.”
  • Do they talk knowledgeably about their family? They know what’s going on in each other’s lives. They know what the struggles are, what the hopes are, and what the joys are.
  • Do they avoid talking disrespectfully about their family? This is more about what they don’t say than what they do say. Families know one another’s junk, the juicy stories and details; yet they are disciplined enough—even jealous enough—for one another’s honor that they say no to when they feel tempted toward gossip.

So, (1) the word family is emotionally-loaded. (2) We gauge those emotions by how one talks about their family. (3) Loving families are attractive families.

I remember my college buddy Chris. He talked this way about his family, lovingly, knowledgably, respectfully. The stories he’d tell—their family habits and traditions—it made me want to be a part of it.

I’d go there to visit and never want to leave. I wanted to stay there. I wanted to belong. I wanted to be a part of the love they had for one another. I wanted to be one of them. Not a visitor, but a fellow family member.

Here’s the point of it all in form of a question: How do we talk about our family, the church? Specifically, how do we talk about one another? In our CG’s, in our LG’s, or the people next to us in the pew?

Cities Church, my exhortation to us all is to speak well of our church family, and in so doing make our family attractive to others. May the way we speak about our church family cause those outside the family to want to come in.

And this reminds us of our needs to confess our sins. Pray with me.