I heard about a recent incident within a family which disturbs me. Two brothers, ages 8 and 6, were preparing to leave school to catch the bus to their after school program. The 6 year old was unable to get his pants down after school in order to go the bathroom. The older brother debated whether to go to the bus or wait for his brother. He chose to wait for his sibling. Both boys were scolded for their tardiness and came home very upset.
Their mother told them a story about their grandfather who was from a large family of sons. The boys all attended a one room school. It happened that a younger brother was called to the front to receive the strap for misbehavior. As the brother walked towards the front of the classroom, an older brother (the grandfather) simply stood at his desk, and the teacher put the strap away. The younger brother was probably disciplined at home by their father, but this mother’s message was clear — siblings always stand up for each other. Actually, I am not sure I believe this story as related. If the teacher had any dignity and had good cause to strap the child, the brother who stood at his seat also deserved punishment for upholding bad behavior.
That was not my training. I was not taught to stick up for someone who is wrong, even if it is my brother! I was taught to stick up for what is GOD’s right! In this situation, my parents would have said to stand up for the TRUTH! Run to the bus to explain the tardiness: “My brother is in trouble in the bathroom! Please wait for him! ” To me, it is crazy this mother taught her boys to stick up for each other rather than to make the situation right by truthful explanation.
This idea of mutual protection is pervasive in some families. I know a person who became an adulterer. His outwardly religious family pushed the innocent spouse of many years out of the family circle and supported the adulterer in his sin, welcoming his mistress into the fold with open arms. Paul told the church at Corinth: Do not associate with sexually immoral people within the church. Immoral people outside the church are not our concern. You must not associate with sexually immoral brothers or sisters. Do not even eat with such people. I Corinthians 5:9-11
Which is more important: truth or supporting/ignoring the bad behavior of relatives? Does your family protect each other at any cost, or do they proclaim truth? Which is most important to you — truth or family?