“Family” provides familiarity and connectedness. While sitting in a new property developer’s office trying to discern if we were a good fit, the conversation turned personal. Where did you grow up? What school did you attend? Who are your people? We discovered we shared an aunt and had both attended her funeral, but didn’t know about each other. I was the missing cousin since childhood. Small world. Where do we go from here?
“Family” is complicated. There are the divorced yet friends for the children’s sake. Some are blended families with two sets of moms, dads, and grandparents. Family units without the security of a marriage license are gaining popularity. Open marriages (married but allowed to date others), and swingers (married but permit sex with different partners with spouse present) can be confusing to the children and can cause one of the partners to feel like they are not enough for their spouse. Depending on religious beliefs, social norms, or personal preferences same-sex unions may be ostracized from the larger family unit.
“Family” is enriching. There are those who are loving, generous, helpful, patient, kind, and prayerful. It is a joy to be around them.
But let’s be honest, not all family members are enriching. Some are difficult people. Let me give you several examples:
- Brother Blamer – consistently makes poor life decisions but does not want to be responsible for the consequences. It is always everyone else’s fault.
- Lucy Lazy – wants what you have but does not want to work as hard as you do for it. She can’t understand why you won’t’ just give it to her.
- Linus Liar – tells unnecessary lies when no one asked for their opinion or advice. Will lie about the color of the sky while everyone is looking at it.
- Stella Stealer – when she visits everything of value must be hidden because she habitually leaves with items she did not bring without asking.
- Steve Stirrer – keeps mess going by “accidentally” revealing others’ recent mishaps: Mary’s boy flunked out of college; Bob’s daughter is pregnant; Roy is in jail for hitting his wife.
As a Christian, how do we show the love of God while interacting with the familiar and connected, the complicated, the enriching, and the difficult members of our families? My answer is ASK GOD. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5. Ask God how to show appreciation to and for the pleasant family members and how to set boundaries for the unpleasant family members in a manner that pleases Him.
Share with us your advice for successful family life. #JoinTheConversation.
I was in a family situation that had the potential of destroying a 50-year relationship. I was truly hurt and went to God in prayer. The situation didn’t change but God changed me. The way it was handled by the power of God saved the relationship. God’s way works.
You went o the right one with your hurt – God. He was the only one who could save a 50-year relationship.
We will never manuver the difficult ground of family relationships without God’s grace, love and mercy. Seeking His face will always put us on the right path. We will find peace and unity😃😁
Family is vitally important. God ordained it.
Wow! Awesome wisdom Dr. Haire. I wish there were more sessions within the church and during premarital counseling that touches on blended families, especially those with adult children who still depend on a parent for support. Blended families with different standards and lifestyles can easily break up a marriage. I pray for God to extend mercy and His wisdom to every Man and Woman of God that have been joined together through His will, while remembering His command to “Foresake all others”.
H Fisher, thank you for sharing the need for discussion on blended families. This is a relevant topic for future blogs.
Secret to successful family life? Balance. It starts within; making my relationship with God the single most important thing in my life. His Word changes and directs me to being the best me I can be. Which in turn causes all of my relationships to go better because I know it’s not about me; it’s about allowing HIM to love them through me. Everything else just falls into place after that one decision. Put HIM first. Not the marriage, kids, family or church. Put these things in His hands and success is guaranteed!
Thank you, Deitrich Clark for sharing with us your secret to a successful family life – put God first.
Moving to a different state, engaging with family I had not seen in a while afforded me the opportunity to ask God to fix a relationship that I didn’t know was broken. God showed me who, what, and how to interact with my family who didn’t know me like they thought. god knows the individual and helped me to change the way I interact and speak.
Mendola, sometimes change is hard. It is a blessing that you were willing and able to change the way you interacted and spoke to your family member. God bless you.
In my family we have had family drama but we continued to pray.Yes, God put it on the person heart to get up early one morning and go apologize to the person.But drama puts a strain on a family..
Deborah, thank you for saying, “we continued to pray.” Sometimes we give up too soon.
I’m grateful and love my family. I realize that family ‘ is God’s plan for mankind life. I realize family can be difficult because we’re all different. I agree with Sis Linda that we should ask God to help us deal with our difficult family members because God loves them too.
Ola, I appreciate your words of wisdom – “family can be difficult because we’re all different.”
It is Family that can hurt you deeply sometimes intentionally or not! These are the people God has placed you with. We have to ask God how to relate to them, respect and Love them so that he gets the Glory.
You are so right, Pastor Adriene Boyd.
Family is very important to me. I’m blessed to have my family, my church family, my husbands family, and my sons family. As the many years passed, my love towards them haven’t changed. I’ve learned that we are different in many ways, but my love for my families haven’t changed. My ultimate prayer for my families is Love and Unity.
Dr Haire I believe that we need Wisdom for Daily living with our family. Nothing that our family members do are say can compare with knowing God and following his ways no matter what. I just pray the members of my family who are not following God would have a new mindset and trust that God is concerned about everything that concerns then. We may not agree on everything, but we can talk through it and pray that God will give us directions and th right answer. I believe God word have answer for anything we are dealing with.
Arletha, I believe God’s Word has the answer also. Thank you for sharing.
I have a Steve Stirrer in my family. Always putting other people business out. I stop going around this person and going to family gatherings but God spoke to me and I had to get out of self and let God use me to speak to that person. Now the person talks about their life instead of others. We might be the only bible that the read or see. If we just take time with others find out what is going on with them and give them another perspective it can bring change
Sandra, you allowing God to use you to bring change to “Steve Stirrer” not only blessed him but now the entire family can enjoy his company.
As I mature in life I am reminded that non of us can pick or choose our family. I am learning that WE AL FALL SHORT. it is my job to forgive, encourage, love, not judge and do the right thing. In spite of what is being done by others. Yep it’s hard BUT REAL!!!
As I mature in life I have LEARNED that I can not pick or choose who my family members are. Everyone has the ability to speak his or her mind and sometimes it’s not always kind,truthful or fair. I have learned that I must do what is right in spite of how negative, hurtful, or otherwise things are God holds me ACCOUNTABLE!! I must do the right thing, with out judging others or treating them the way they are doing!
I thank God for family. Family is a priceless treasure. When family is enriching that’s a “Thank you Lord. ” When family is difficult and complicated that’s a “Help Lord. ” Pray and seek His face for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in dealing with family members. He has the answer. He is the solution.