Let’s face it; a lot of us have at least one person in our family who we see only once or twice a year, and there’s a good reason for that. Maybe it’s because they’re a little bit quirky, or they have a lifestyle you don’t understand. Maybe it’s because you just don’t have a lot in common with the other person. Or, perhaps, it’s because you just genuinely don’t like the other person. No matter the reason, it’s probably safe to say these people in your family drive you crazy.
Whatever the case may be, there are ways for you to get through the gathering without losing your patience (or maybe your sanity). The easiest way to do this is to remember two things.
- Love God and love people, as Christ commanded
- Remember that loving people doesn’t mean you have to have a close relationship with them or condone their actions
Jesus made these points clear when speaking to the disciples:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31
Christ wants us to love and care for one another. He wants us to be the shining light in an otherwise dark and broken world. He wants us to have compassion for others in their situations and struggles, and he wants us to earnestly pray for them.
However, Christ is not commanding us to allow these individuals to have negative impacts on us. It is okay to set and keep boundaries with others to keep our spiritual life protected. It is okay to say no. It’s okay to keep your distance if necessary. It is okay for you to only say a few words to a family member you need to keep a boundary with and then walk away. It’s also okay to remind them of these boundaries when they’re crossed.
This can be a difficult task, but during these potentially tense moments with family members, it’s important to remember where your approval comes from:
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” – Psalm 16:5-9
Perhaps your situation is the opposite. Perhaps you’re the family member trying to make amends to relationships you’ve damaged and you’re hoping this holiday season you’ll be able to solidify those relationships. This act is encouraged and commendable, but it can also be painful, and sometimes uncomfortable. Remember, when you’re seeking forgiveness and reconciliation from others, they may not react in the way you want them to. It’s important to remember to have grace and understanding with others. Taken into consideration Max Lucado’s words in Just Like Jesus:
“The world has never known a heart so pure, a character so flawless. His spiritual hearing was so keep he never missed a heavenly whisper. His mercy so abundant he never missed a chance to forgive… Jesus is the ultimate model for every person… God urges you to fix your eyes upon Jesus. Heaven invites you to set the lens of your heart of the Savior and make him the object of your life.”
How can you be just like Jesus to your family this season?
STRUGGLING WITH DIFFICULT FAMILY MEMBERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Call us, message us on Facebook, or schedule your appointment right here. You don’t have to continue feeling this way. It’s time to get your life back.