We are on the same side.

She's a hard person to love and understand. But you learn to accept her for who she is, and you hold on to the good moments. You choose to remember the scarce "I love you"s  and the few times that she has paid attention to you, and you remind yourself that you love her. You consider her past and her childhood, her hurts and pains and disappointments. You realize she is a person like you; like you, she is broken and afraid. She needs love and wants to love. But she is scared. She doesn't know how to love. She doesn't know any different, because this is the way she was raised. Like you, she has parents - parents who are also broken, and who have made mistakes. And they have pasts and skeletons. She is an imperfect combination of those broken parents with ugly histories. She passes those imperfections to her kids, who became parents. And they have their own histories of pain and brokenness. And those get passed down to us.

When you consider all of this, when you realize she is no different than you in the grand scheme of things, you can't hate her. You can't ignore her. You accept her, and you love her.

That is, if you have any humility. If you have the strength to admit that you are also imperfect, and you are no better or worse than your dysfunctional family members.

My dysfunctional, imperfect family has no unique issues. Your family and my family are one and the same. We are all broken, imperfect, and we all need to be loved.

When I consider the fact that I am no different than she, and my family is like yours, and I am like you, I realize the importance of community and love and mercy and grace. 

This is what I learned last week: God is community. And He has created us in His image, which means we are also community. And when the church functions as God intended, the church is a community. A true community, not just a mirage or a shell of community.

The church has the highest potential of effecting change when it is truly united. When we are one as the Trinity is one, we can make a difference.

Through setting aside differences and reconciling with each other, we can set an example of who Christ is and what he has accomplished. We can attract the lost, wandering, confused, and embittered. 

So maybe, just today, just this week, we can forgive. We can accept each other, even our unbearable family members, and choose to love. Because those grudges, differences, and problems are not as important as Jesus' desire for us to be one. If we can't be one with each other as Jesus is one with the Father, we suggest that Christ's death and resurrection are meaningless. Reconciliation and community are more important than revenge and justice. "Vengeance is mine," God says. Our concern is not to seek revenge, but to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Lead by example, be a community.

We are on the same side. If we fight with each other, we fight with ourselves. We are on the same side. We are on the side of truth, love, and hope. We are on the same side.

I am on your side.

He is on your side.

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