I was given the opportunity to speak today on the causes of division with youth groups. One cause is what I call the "my family, right or wrong," syndrome. This is especially problematic in eastern cultures, where family loyalty is highly emphasized. But, as Christians, we are called to make the difficult decision to rise above family loyalty and to love without limits.
St. Tikhon of Zadonsk writes, "Let us, then, speak here about Christian love which enfolds within its embrace and holds not only our own relatives, brothers, friends, and acquaintances, but all men..."
Each of us, entrusted by God with a mind and a heart, cannot escape the answers to questions like:
Have I gone so far as to hate one person on behalf of another?
Am I really looking intelligently, reasonably and honestly at a conflict or am I blinded by thoughtless loyalty to a family member? Is that family member manipulating my loyalty?
What will I answer on the last day when it is only God and me (and not my human relatives) and I have to give an answer for the heart and mind with which I have been entrusted?