I learned a great lesson from my sister and her husband about how to be a parent. When their kids do something they shouldn’t, one of the things they say to explain why that thing is wrong is “Our family doesn’t do that.”
That is such a brilliant idea. It allows you to explain to your children why their actions aren’t acceptable. But in this case what is taught is equally as important as what isn’t taught. Other people might do those things that you shouldn’t do. Those people aren’t necessarily wrong. It’s just not something your family does. Maybe it’s okay for other families. But it isn’t for ours. Certainly this approach has its limitations. My sister isn’t going to tell her children that all of morality is subjective. There are some things that no family should find acceptable. But there are a great many things that are determined within the smaller familial unit.
And that’s exactly how we ought to view other churches and denominations. Maybe you’re a Calvinist. Maybe you have no idea what that means. Maybe you’re Pentecostal. Maybe those people scare you. What is important is that you are a part of a family. Your immediate family behaves a certain way. Within that immediate family, there are certain practices that other families don’t accept or understand. That’s okay. They aren’t a part of your family. Maybe they do things you find unacceptable. That’s okay. You aren’t a part of their family.
The beautiful thing is that we are a part of a larger family. We’re all a part of the body of Christ. So while your familial unit may not look anything like mine, we’re all under a broader canopy with God as our father. So give your crazy cousins a break. Chances are, they think you’re pretty crazy, too. One day, Dad will set us all straight.