Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Families are an interesting concept… different personalities, likes, dislikes, opinions, all living (or at one time living) together under the same roof.
The holidays make this concept even more interesting. Because as if families aren’t sometimes complicated enough, the holidays have us throw in a few crazy aunts and/or uncles (both maybe?), some cousins, perhaps a few family members that don’t get along or have had a fall-out. Add in some adult children with children of their own (and their own ways of parenting those children), and what we have is a real possibility for disaster.
In the movie, Home Alone, 8-year-old Kevin McCallister experiences this situation first hand. He then has it out with his mother the night before his entire family is flying to Paris for Christmas. During his fit of anger over his unfair treatment, he wishes that he would never see his family again. Now, he takes it a bit far and says a few choice words that had me cringing, but in his defense his family was not the nicest to him either.
Below is Kevin’s conversation with his mother, Kate:
Kevin McCallister: Everyone in this family hates me!
Kate McCallister: Then you should ask Santa for a new family.
Kevin McCallister: I don’t want another family. I don’t want any family. Families suck!
Kate McCallister: Just stay up there. I don’t wanna see you again for the rest of the night.
Kevin McCallister: I don’t wanna see you again for the rest of my whole life. I don’t wanna see anybody else either.
Kate McCallister: I hope you don’t mean it. You’d feel pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow morning and you didn’t have a family.
Kevin McCallister: No! I wouldn’t!
Kate McCallister: Then say that again. Maybe it will happen.
Kevin McCallister: I hope I’ll never see any of you jerks again.
If you’ve seen the movie then you know that Kevin wakes up and believes that he got his wish and “made his family disappear”. And if you’ve seen the movie then you also know that his family actually forgot him. They woke up late and through a series of interesting events left their 8-year-old son home alone while they proceeded to fly to Paris.
The McCallisters seem like a family with some problems. But in all seriousness, don’t most families have some problems they’re working through? It doesn’t really matter if those problems are big or small, what matters is that they are close to our hearts and being together makes us face them head on. And let’s be honest…that doesn’t always make for a holly jolly Christmas most of the time.
Maybe that’s why some of us dread this time of year. Maybe we don’t want to face the issues of the past and/or present. Maybe it makes us uncomfortable. Maybe it brings back painful memories or regrets of what was or could have been. Maybe having a royal fit and wishing our families away seems like a much easier solution then actually spending time with the people we’re stuck with as family. Maybe it is, but (and there’s always a but isn’t there?) BUT what about that verse we just read in Romans? I encourage you to go back and read it again, right now. It’s one of those verses that hits you in the gut and makes you realize that there is some responsibility on our part when it comes to the relationships we have with our families.
Yes, verse 18 says, “IF it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” and this is the part of the verse that helps us find our loop-hole to this whole “living at peace” thing. The truth is there are times in which peace is not possible in a relationship because the Bible does not say “you must always live at peace with everyone.” On the other hand, before we come to this conclusion about any relationship we need to look to the beginning of those verses and we need to ask ourselves some questions.
- Is our love sincere toward everyone in our family or are we maybe being a bit fake in some of those relationships?
- Are we clinging to what is good in ALL of our relationships or are we looking for the faults in them?
- Are we devoted to ALL of our family relationships or are we flippant about some of them?
- Do we honor ALL of those in our families above ourselves?
- How is your personal spiritual life? Are you seeking and serving the Lord?
- Are you joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer especially in your family relationships?
- Do you share with those in your family?
- Are you hospitable to your family?
- Do you bless those in your family who persecute you?
- Do you try your very hardest at all times to live in harmony with EVERYONE in your family?
- Are you completely humble in every area of your life and willing to associate with any and all members of your family?
If we are being completely honest with ourselves, there’s some work to be done in our own hearts to promote peace within the relationships we have with our families.
Perfect relationships are not possible, but peace is. And when we rely on the Prince of Peace to help us do better in this area of our lives, we may just have a holly jolly Christmas this year after all.
Lord, family relationships are not always easy. Thank you for your encouragement through scripture. I pray that this Christmas I would do what it takes, “as far as it depends on me, to live at peace with everyone,” especially my family. Thank you, Lord, for my family and all that comes with them. I pray for peace this Christmas.
Today’s post was written by Amanda Sanders.
Amanda has been married to her high school sweet heart Matt for 12 years. Together they have three kids ages 9, 7 and 4. In this season of life, Amanda spends most of her time drinking coffee, teaching children, doing laundry and repeating herself. Occasionally, she has some time for working out, reading for leisure and writing. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life UCF campus.