Loving people is what God wants us do. We are not to remain in isolation, but we are encouraged to love each other, the way the Lord loves us. But have you noticed how difficult it is to love some of the people you are related to? Maybe you’ve been badly hurt by a sibling, a parent or even your adult child. Maybe it’s been years since you’ve last spoken to this person. It sure seems that it would be a lot easier to just forever break off ties with those family members who have caused us so much hurt.
There are all kinds of sayings that validate these sinful feelings in our hearts, the one that immediately comes to mind is, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives”. OUCH! The thing is, God, through His infinite wisdom DID choose who our families would be. It seems that healing the broken relationships within our family should be something we work diligently towards.
Through Scripture, God teaches us that pretty much all relationships will involve conflict. He also teaches that we should be prepared to respond to these conflicts in a variety of constructive ways, but always using a gentle confrontation, if there is a need.
Some conflicts call for a loving discussion. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Some conflicts need to be totally overlooked, which can be a hard thing to do, especially when we struggle with the very human condition of wanting to be right! Luke 6:27-28 says:
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
However we respond to conflict, we need to be willing to forgive others just as God forgave us. Ephesians 4:32 says:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Getting along with other people requires a loving heart and a wide array of conflict. I encourage you to look at Peacemakers, which is a Christian ministry that helps individuals, churches, and businesses use Biblical standards in mending hearts and resolving conflict.
How important would it be to you to allow God to heal your heart, especially as we enter into this very family-centered time of the year? Are you willing to take a deeper look into a Biblical approach to healing? Let’s pray this week that God will soften the part of our hearts that might have become so hardened that we haven’t been able to take that first step towards forgiveness and healing.
Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributor to the What’s in the Bible and JellyTelly blogs. She is a homeschooling mom of two, who works independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville. Her blog, Talking Like A Girl, is currently being restructured.