The Wokingham Paper

CHURCH NOTES: You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family

Harry and Meghan
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Picture: Mark Jones/Flickr

Families, don’t you just love them! If there is any encouragement from the recent news about the Royal family it that no family is immune to difficulties, fall outs and relationship breakdowns.

I have been listening to all the debates and reading the reports about every aspect of Harry and Megan’s lives.

Everyone having an opinion, they should do this or that, so much so that they would be wrong which ever way they turned.

I tried to imagine what it would be like having every word, action and fall out with my own family scrutinised and shared with the world and how I might behave differently if that were the case. 

The phrase ‘you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family’ comes to mind. Many people we serve at the Salvation Army would say they are experiencing homelessness because of a relationship breakdown in their family.

Many will have had to leave behind the people they love most and move away, into their car, on to friend’s sofa’s and ultimately the street. We know that Harry and Megan will not end up on the streets, far from it, but relationship breakdown on any level is difficult to manage and once it has gone too far is hard to mend.

Family should be a place of safety and love, where we can be ourselves without fear or judgment if it’s not then can I encourage you to seek help.

The Bible says in Galatians 3:28-29 (The Message): “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.”

Thankfully many people have strong loving families and relationships that will last a lifetime.

I pray that we will cherish each other and look out for those who are struggling and finding life tough and that they will seek help before relationships are broken beyond repair.

Captain Jan Howlin from Wokingham Salvation Army, writing on behalf of Churches Together in Wokingham

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