What’s the difference between being related to someone and being in a relationship with them?

Well, for one thing, we don’t have much to say about who we are related to (much as we’d like to, sometimes). At least, not on the upstream side of the family line.

The only time we get to choose is when we decide to become children of God. It’s good to be a part of his family, for sure, though we may not always be crazy about some of our relatives.

But you can be related to someone without being in a relationship with them (and vice versa). Case in point: you can be a child of God without living in relationship with him. What a shame!

Jesus – our older brother – not only died to make our relationship with the Father possible, he lives to nurture that relationship. As under-shepherds, our privilege is to work alongside of the Great Shepherd in adding depth and delight to the relationship that our relatives in Christ have available to them.

To do that, we must develop a relationship with them that re-presents our relationship with the Father and the Son.