Doing Life Together

2573762303_365ac020f8_bI spoke to a woman who hasn’t talked to her mother for most of the year. She is angry at the way she is treated. Because of her anger, she is refusing to see her mom at Christmas. “I want to make her feel like she does me–unimportant and rejected. But I am guessing you are going to tell me this isn’t a good response.”

She’s right. She claims to be a follower of Christ. Can treating her mother like she has been treated be a Christian response? We spent a few minutes in 1 Corinthians 13– a chapter used frequently at weddings, but a powerful chapter on how we are to treat each other every day of the year. Families are no exception. They are often our laboratory of learning!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

We are to love our family as we have been loved by God. This holiday season, consider how to love your family with God’s love. What does that look like? What does that mean for you? Possibly one of these seven:

1) Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Even when we’ve been wronged, we are not to repay evil with evil. Love doesn’t keep score, it doesn’t try to even, it offers forgiveness.

2) Love means we have been given God’s grace even though we aren’t worthy. God pursued us when we didn’t deserve it. He sent His Son to pay for our sins. Shouldn’t we do the same by pursuing those who are not worthy?

3) Love bears all things. Even though Jesus knows us inside out, he still forgives our guilt. He is our example to bear all things.

4) Love demands we sometimes lay aside our preferences and bless someone even when we don’t feel like it. With difficult family, we rarely feel like blessing them, yet this is the challenge.

5) Love pushes us to let go of offense and  persevere in difficult relationships.

6) Love refuses to jump to conclusions and prompts us to reconcile when we can.

7) Love requires kindness be given– even to those who attack us.

Love is challenging us to love our upsetting families with the same love that has been given to us through Jesus Christ. I”m not suggesting this is easy, but with the power of the Holy Spirit in us, it can be done.

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