The expression “friends and family” reflects the two basic types of interpersonal relationships. These two types of relationships are based in entirely different principles.
Friendship is fundamentally a matter of choice. We come to friendship through mutual agreement; others agree to become friends with us, and we agree to be friends with others.
Accordingly, we do not extend friendship to everyone we meet. Friendships can be broken; they often fade with the passage of time. They are therefore mutable and breakable.
By contrast, familial love is freely given. We are expected to love our families unconditionally, and expect that same unchanging love from them. It is true that people can turn away from their families and reject that unconditional love. (I did for a time – it wasn’t pretty.) But this refusal of love is always scandalous, and reflects a self-evidently disordered state of mind. Family bonds are meant to last forever.
Christian relationships reflect the love of family. As Christians, we call ourselves “brothers and sisters in Christ.” We are all part of one family, joined by our shared faith in our Master.
We may choose which specific members of our family we associate with more frequently than others, of course. The same is true in any family. However, Christian love should be shown to ALL fellow Christians; we Christians must love one other as brethren. Indeed, we have no choice in the matter. Moreover, we as Christians must be willing to extend that familial love to non-Christians, and welcome them into the Christian family as fellow brothers and sisters.