Family. It is a word that many times gets thrown around but can have different connotations. Sometimes it is intended for good, to convey a sense of belonging and purpose. Other times, it is just used to manipulate and further a person’s own narcissistic goals. For example, people often throw out sayings when they refer to family — “blood is thicker than water” or “you should do this because we are a family”. Do those ideas truly reflect what a family is?

I am Chris Riggins. I am the oldest of the three boys in my family. Jeremiah and Lee, whom you heard from earlier, are my brothers; and Pa, Mike, is my dad. I am one of the truly blessed ones. God has put me in an environment where my traditional family is, in essence, the TRUE definition of what family should mean. Even though it happened to work out that my traditional family is my true family, it does not always work that way. Look at Lee & Bear, one blood and one adopted. Never has there ever been truer brothers. And with Pa, the patriarch of the family, there has never been a better concept of what a dad should exemplify. Each of these guys, myself included, are leaders of their own family units with wives and children of their own. The structure of our family, for the most part, resembles the traditional definition of family. As I said earlier it does not always work out that way.

Contrary to the traditional definition of family, my definition of family is a group of like-minded people that give up their own selfish desires to maintain and further the purpose of the whole. Now there’s a new word “purpose”. In the constructs of the modern family “purpose” and “family” are rarely seen together. It’s more about ancestral relationships between individuals. If purpose is ever brought into the family, it is very individualistic, but the purpose of the whole is what makes a family, a family. Not blood and not narcissistic individuals.

How does a family define its purpose? First of all, purpose absent of God is not purpose; it is narcissism. God being the ultimate patriarch, and the most inner circle of who we are as a family, is what holds our family together. He is the deliverer of purpose. It is not something that you can create in and of yourself. Your purpose and the purpose of your family will only be revealed through the continual seeking of God. So, you want to discover your purpose? The answer is easy, but the process requires work on your part. Seek God! This continual discovery of God and fulfillment of His purpose is what binds us together and allows us to expand our definition of family to be more than DNA.

This is why if you only define your family as blood you could miss out on the purpose God has for you. It takes more than one person or individual family unit to fulfill God’s purpose. Yes, we all have our individual part to play but the connection of our purposes together toward a common purpose is what makes us a tribe and not just a family of blood. Our tribe will seek God and fulfill His purpose.

Do not be confused by the narcissistic use of “family” that manipulates you into developing misplaced loyalty. Know who and the purpose that you focus on. If you start by seeking God and His purpose for you and your family, you will have a tribe.

– Written by Chris