Saturday, December 18, 2010

What To Do When Your Family Is Not Perfect

"Then the LORD said to Cain, 'Where is Abel your brother?' He said, 'I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?'" Genesis 4:9

Christmas is fast approaching and we're all probably getting ready for one—or more—of those traditional, annual holiday family gatherings. If we're honest, sometimes these family gatherings are clearly more of a curse than a blessing.

Have you ever experienced any conflicts or issues with your family that blow up over the holidays? Well, join the club! Apparently, even the first siblings on the earth couldn't get along very well. In this verse, God is asking Cain where his brother was, even though He knew that Cain had murdered Abel. Now, I doubt that any of us have actually murdered another member of our family...although we may have felt like it a time or two.

The holidays can bring out the best in us, but—if we're not careful—they can also bring out the worst in us. Can anyone say "amen" to that? When that happens, it can make the holidays miserable for everyone.

I remember a saying one of our Bible school instructors used to tell us: "To be fore-warned is to be forearmed." So, what can we do to proactively approach our time together with family and do more than just get along but actually enjoy it? Do you know what the secret is? It's learning to abide in the light of God's love.

"He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him." (1 John 2:10)

You see, love is a choice. Let's choose to love our families this holiday season. As we learn to abide in the light of God's love, we're empowered to love our brothers, our sisters, our weird aunts or uncles, and even our in-laws. When we love like this, nothing can cause us to stumble.

"And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'" (1 Peter 4:8)

It's amazing what a little love will do to help us avoid conflict. Love helps us to cover things that otherwise might bug us, or get us all worked up. When something is covered up, we don't see it. So may this year's Christmas get-together be our best ever as we choose to love our families with the same love that God has for us!

"Father, I thank You for my family. Even though none of us is perfect, I choose to love them in spite of my family's imperfections. I pray that I can be a vessel of Your unconditional love for every member of my family as I abide in Your light. In Jesus' Name. Amen."

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