We need them. No matter how independent a person is, we need our family. The type of need referred to here has nothing to do with finances or other such support. Family grounds us in a way others can’t. They’ve known us from the beginning…the good and the bad. They know the family history that has helped shape who we are. With that, generally comes a level of understanding others cannot have. Family typically keeps things 100% real also!
Psalm 133:1 (KJV) Behold, how good and how
pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together
If we are not able to spend time with our family often, it is easy to forget how much fun being with them can be. Once together, the laughter, sharing of old memories, and making of new ones provides refreshment for the soul!
They will hurt you. Family hurt cuts deeper than any other because the love we have for family is like no other. The dynamics of personalities and life experiences can lead to major differences opinions, lifestyles, etc.) If those differences are not met with love and respect, disagreements may result in division. There can be an unfortunate trickle-down effect also if other family members choose to take sides instead of work together toward forgiveness and understanding.
Matthew 6:14 (KJV) For if you forgive men
their trespasses, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you:
Time heals and forgiveness surely helps! Forgiveness is a two-fold blessing. In addition to bringing about peace, it releases negative feelings harbored. Negativity left to fester can spill over into other areas of our life; our health, in particular.
Restoration of family relationships is possible. It is pride that keeps family members from making amends with one another. If pride can be set aside, healing and restoration will begin. Pride comes when we think what matters to us is more important than what matters to others. We need more old school grandmothers! The grandmothers from a generation or two ago would refuse to see their families torn apart.
Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) Pride goeth before
The destruction of some family relationships is a direct result of pride. We are shown this clearly in Proverbs. For the sake of family, it is good to put pride aside. No one wins when pride is allowed to prevail. One person may get their way, but at what cost?
Family is not always a blood relative. As an adoptive parent, this is something I realized long ago. However, seeing ‘family’ manifest in other non-blood relationships is indeed a blessing as well. For instance, if you did not grow up with a sister but develop a sister-like relationship with someone through the course of life it can be just as meaningful as a sister-by-birth bond.
John 19:30 (NIV) When he had received
the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”
With that, he bowed his head and gave
up his spirit.
When Jesus carried out this act of love and sacrifice we were adopted into the body of Christ. Adoption in this sense was by His blood but He did not do it for His blood relatives only.
They are irreplaceable. It’s so important to appreciate the time we have with our family. How many times have we said “tomorrow is not promised”? Although we say it, I wonder how many of us sincerely understand the magnitude of those four words. The harsh reality is that, moment to moment, time with those we love is not promised to us. Should we use it, or shall I say waste it, arguing over things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of life? There will never be another of any person. There are no carbon copies and no do-overs in the relationships with people in our lives. Once they are gone, it’s over.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV) To every thing there
is a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven.
We should not let our season with any family member end on bad terms. Hoping and praying they knew what was really in our heart will not provide us with peace when they are gone.
Traditions are important. Traditions provide family members with something to look forward to. A tradition can be as simple as adding a new ornament to the Christmas tree that represents a significant family event from that year (new baby, new home, new job, dream car, family vacation, baptism, graduation, first pet). Attending the annual family reunion can also be a great tradition to keep going. Family members who live in different states can maximize these opportunities to build and strengthen relationships.
2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV) So then brethren,
stand firm and hold to the traditions which
you were taught, whether by word of mouth
or by letter from us.
Keep the spirit of tradition alive and well in your family. If there is something your parents shared with you that their parents shared with them, please be sure to pass it along to your children. Or, create new traditions. The possibilities are endless!
They are ‘people’, too. Often times we hold our family members to a different standard than others in our life. With family we tend to “expect” instead of “accept”. That’s an extremely unfair burden to place on the people we love the most. If we are more accepting of our differences with others than we are with our family members, we are opening the door for dissention.
Romans 12:18 (KJV) If it is possible,
as much as lieth in you, live peaceably
with all men.
Take a moment to evaluate and ask yourself, “Is it that big of a deal?” If the answer is yes, address it, but with love. Seek to understand as well. Remember, the goal is to be at peace with everyone, not war.
Through the years I have had to recall the scriptures shared here. Recalling is only Step 1, however. Step 2 is to apply them. This is the most critical step because knowledge is only helpful when applied. Without application, nothing changes.
Love and understanding should be the heartbeat of every family. In some cases, feelings are allowed to prevail. It takes a dedicated effort to press beyond our feelings for the sake of family unity. It may not always be an easy task but it is certainly for a worthwhile cause!
Focusing on godly principles can shift the family focus to what is best, right, and most of all, pleasing to God.