The Christian Counseling and Education Center shared a helpful article last week called “Family Feuds: How to Respond.”
In it, Tim Lane shares some ideas for bringing our relationship with Christ to bear on difficult family situations, which are often brought to the surface during the holiday season. I found his counsel to be wise and realistic (he doesn’t gloss over painful issues like abuse), but above all I appreciated his reminder that we can only respond with grace to our family to the measure that we ourselves have received grace:
Living with a conscious understanding of who you are in Christ can practically impact the way you love your family. Think of it this way: if you are very poor and someone steals a dollar from you, you’d be very angry and you’d try to make that person give you your dollar back. But if you are a multi-millionaire and someone takes $100 or even $1000 dollars from you, the offense, though real, doesn’t sting like it would if you were very poor. In the same way, when you become a Christian you are a spiritual multi-millionaire a millions times over!
Because of what Jesus did for you through his life, death, and resurrection, God has poured an unlimited amount of grace, forgiveness, love, commitment, security, and commitment into your life. Your spiritual wealth puts all of the slights, unmet expectations, and hurts of parents and siblings in a totally new light. It doesn’t mean you ignore or don’t feel the hurts, but they pale in comparison to what you have been given in Christ. Because of who you are in Christ, you don’t have to be overwhelmed and dominated by the sins and failures of your family. Instead you will be free to share with them the same grace and mercy God has given to you.