As has been made very publicly and painfully obvious by the publication of a certain book, we cannot chose our relatives and there are often tensions within families. Whilst we talk about “brotherly love” and “the sisterhood”, I am sure we are all aware that the reality is sometimes rather different. It does not have to be open hostility; sometimes family members simply do not have much in common and so naturally lead separate lives. I am fortunate in that I had a close relationship with my parents and whilst I have no brothers or sisters, I am supported by cousins, aunts and uncles, but I am aware that this is not the case for everyone.
The Bible reflects this dilemma. The family, the household, was the building block of society, but the book is full of stories of brothers quarrelling, of mothers and daughters scheming or wronged. Paul talks about how all believers are members of God’s family, but it seems that there were times early in Jesus’s mission that his own family did not understand what he was doing. The Bible is honest about human ideals but also human failings. Perhaps a Christian perspective allows us to be honest about the relationships we have within our families; to accept failure with grace and to seek to love our relations, even if we do not always like them.