Family Feuds at Holidays?

I am blessed with a wonderful family.  A loving gracious wife, two awesome sons (I still call them "the boys" but they are men), parents and in-laws that are helpful and have always been appropriate in connecting but not controlling. I am thankful!

But I know that is not the case for everyone.

For some the sheer thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings creates stress, knowing that relational tension, dysfunction, lack of connection relationally, morally or spiritually will exist. 

This morning as I was catching up on some reading, I came across a blog post to share with those of you who need some encouragement as you face the Holiday Family Feud.

You can read the whole post by Justin Taylor, which includes a link to a booklet by Tim Lane.

But Let me just add the brief reminders:

Lane begins by rehearsing a number of truths:

  1. Every family is flawed
  2. Flawed families need God’s grace
  3. Your family of origin does not determine your identity
  4. God’s call to love includes your family
  5. Changed by the cross of Christ

He then gives some practical strategies for change:

  1. Respond with grace to your family
  2. Take responsibility for your sins, not your family’s
  3. Become an instrument of grace
  4. Make wise choices for your children
  5. Persevere in love

Here’s the conclusion:

Loving your family in these ways will mean dying to self-centeredness and growing in Christ-centeredness. As you pray and ask the Spirit of God to change you, old barriers you have erected between you and your family will come down. This will encourage your family members to take down the barriers they have put up.

And from Russell Moore

  1. Peace. (“Your presence should be one of peace and tranquility. The gospel you believe ought to be what disrupts. There’s a big difference.”)
  2. Honor. (“Pray for God to show you the ways those in your life are worthy of honor, and teach your children to follow you in showing respect and gratitude.”)
  3. Humility. (“Unless you’re in an exceptionally sanctified family, you’re going to see failing marriages, parenting crises, and a thousand other shards of the curse. If your response is to puff up as you look at your own situation, there’s a Satanist at your family gathering, and you’re it.”)
  4. Maturity. (“Some of the tensions Christians face at holiday time have nothing to do with outside oppression as much as internal immaturity on the part of the Christians themselves.”)
  5. Perspective. (“At the Judgment Seat of the Lord Christ, you’ll be responsible for living out the gospel in every arena to which the Spirit has led you . . .  including Aunt Flossie’s dining room table.”)

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