Before starting to read Luke 8:19-21, I had been thinking about loving all peoples even those who do not share our faith. Can we share in ecumenical worship with other faiths? I am beginning to believe that the answer is yes. To some extent, we should be prepared to support what they want to achieve to build unity in the world.
The attempts to force others to conform is what has generated hatred and division. Seeking the welfare of others is what will bring down the barriers and encourage renewed consideration of the principles of faith.
For Jesus, his family were those who sought to be part of the kingdom of God. They were those who in some way sought to live out God's will. It wasn't those who had an exclusive attitude but those who needed help and were willing to listen and work together. He reached the outcasts of society by associating with them and reaching their real needs.
If we are to live in the kingdom of God, we have to refrain from competition and jealousy. We have to cease trying to make others like ourselves and simply reach out in love and friendship. If they reject us, that is their choice. It isn't for us to put up barriers and to make life difficult.
In a way, this continues my thesis that the way to resolve conflicts in the middle east is to build understanding, to hear the concerns of the people, and to address their needs. By reducing the alienation, we remove the hatred and build bridges that enable the real problems to be addressed. Addressing those real problems may mean challenging our own assumptions and approach to life.