A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

For Christians, Water Should be Thicker than Blood

“Blood is thicker than holy water” is a quote from Mario Puzo’s The Family, wherein the Borgia pope emphasizes that familial obligations are more important than religious ones.” (Wikipedia)

I have wondered what the saying “blood is thicker than water” means, and there are different theories, one of which is similar to that quoted above. That family bonds are closer than the bonds of Christian baptism, i.e., of brotherhood in Christ. At least this is so often the case.

But it should not be so.

Mat 12:48-50 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” (49) And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! (50) For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

And again:

Luk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Now, let’s apply these principles to the pathetically common scenario of how people “side up” when an abuse victim brings her case before her church family. As we all know, the most frequent outcome is that people choose to side with the abuser. Why? Because earthly, human alliances are given priority over spiritual ones. Good ol’ Joe has been in this church for years. Good ol’ Joe is the uncle/cousin/brother of many of us. Good ol’ Joe owns a business that several of us work at. And so good ol’ Joe, who isn’t good at all, is embraced.

Give very careful attention to the following passage:

2Co 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

And once more:

1Ti 5:21-22 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. (22) Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

We are NOT to be swayed by whose brother or friend Joe is. We are not to regard Joe as a mere man, but we are to “test the spirits” to see if they are of God or the devil (1 John 4). We are to prayerfully and carefully discern what spirit is animating Joe. We have this ability in Christ. The Holy Spirit, in conjunction with God’s Word, enables genuine regenerate people to sort out the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. So we must stop analyzing the Joe we see, and evaluate the Joe God sees. Stop regarding Joe according the flesh. And begin to regard him in spiritual terms. Does Joe walk in the Spirit? Does Joe evidence the love of Christ in his relations with others? Does Joe produce unity among Christ’s people, or does he divide? ABUSERS DIVIDE THE BODY OF CHRIST. Always! Scrutinize Joe’s fruit in other words.

The “water” with which genuine Christians have been washed (as symbolized by the water of baptism) is thicker than the blood of all earthly relationships. It is! And where it is not, we have every right to question whether the Lord Jesus is present at all.

9 Comments

  1. Forrest

    Good point, Jeff.

    The key as you stated is in looking below the surface using spiritual discernment. Even psychopaths have the ability to appear nice on the surface.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Forrest- Thank you, yes. And this is why any church that waters down the gospel, proclaiming a kind of “easy-believism” message that says a person just has to have a devil’s faith (even the demons believe, and tremble) to be saved, is setting up fertile ground for evil, including abusers/psychopaths/sociopaths/narcissists, to make their entrance. Why? Because 1) it is quite easy for them to parade as a Christian in such an environment, and 2) you end up with many church members who have no spiritual discernment because they aren’t saved!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Right on!

  2. Forrest

    The other thing to bear in mind is that the real body of Christ comprises every real believer. In a formal “church” setting, that may not include every member and may not even include the pastor or others with a position. Discernment is indeed key.

  3. this is so right on, thanks for bringing this up. I had a talk with another friend of mine and we were discussing some marriages and he said “it’s all about what’s in your heart”. That will come out in your behavior and the fruit you bear, and any wake of destruction and pain you leave in your path. people don’t care about looking with their spiritual eyes and seeing someone’s heart — it’s too hard? takes too much effort? or we are just too scared of what “everybody will think” ?

  4. Ang

    Excellent article. I was in an abusive church situation and caught up in lies and deception of a pastor, elder, etc. Of course, the ‘church blood’ was thicker than water in that case.
    What happened to TRUTH is to believed and LIES are to be put aside? This should be what happens in all situations, even including churches.

  5. anon

    While reading this blog, I’ve come to realize that the insistence that a spouse and children stay with an abuser is a kind of idolatry, placing the outward constructs of marriage and family above protecting God’s children.

    I’m kind of surprised, though, to hear someone just come right out and say it: family is more important than God. Wow. At least they’re being honest.

  6. Finding Answers

    I grew up hearing “blood is thicker than water”. I stopped believing the saying when I saw how it was used to manipulate people into keeping silent.

    I’m thinking this through as I write…

    The “blood is thicker than water” sounded vaguely threatening, rather than loving and / or supportive….if the family is a loving family, why would the saying be necessary?

    If a family is Christian, rather than professing ‘c’hristian, I doubt “blood is thicker than water” would be relevant…..for Christians, “water is thicker than blood.”

    As Pastor Jeff wrote The “water” with which genuine Christians have been washed (as symbolized by the water of baptism) is thicker than the blood of all earthly relationships. It is! And where it is not, we have every right to question whether the Lord Jesus is present at all.

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