The struggle with family
Why is it sometimes so hard to love our parents?
In the beginning after God created man, he soon acknowledged that man should not be alone. So he created a companion to be with Adam. The act of putting Adam and Eve together shows us that relationships are important to God. So every human since then has been born into a primary social group (family) to connect with.
There is something wonderful about God making sure that we are always connected and not alone. God sees relationship as essential in making us successful humans. So as much as our family sometimes annoys and embarrasses us, it might actually be worse if they didn’t exist. The role of the family then is to love and keep a connection with us. Our role is the same.
Let me share a story. While Jesus was on earth, he shared the message of life and truth. One day, some children gathered to listen to him and his disciples wanted to dismiss them. But Jesus was training and teaching and he wanted everyone to hear, including children.
Jesus is not here in flesh to guide us anymore, but we are not alone. He put parents and family in our lives to help us, so we should value their words. If Jesus was here and shared his stories, would you dismiss him because he was an adult? So why do we sometimes dismiss the adults in our family? They are only doing their job, which is to teach and pour knowledge in us. Oh, I know, you may think that Jesus is perfect and your family is not, so you don’t have to listen to them. That is true that our Lord is perfect, but does that stop us from listening to our friends? They are not perfect and have less experience than most adults, but we listen and accept advice from them every day.
No one is without authority. In Romans 13:1, Paul tells us that we should submit to authority over us. That is not a very popular desire for most people in the western world, but there is a good reason why we should be accountable to others. God does not want us to be without direction. When we submit ourselves to family, there is so much we can learn and helpful suggestions we can get. Notice I’m saying to submit to family and not just parents because that includes your uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, etc. God put many people in our lives to help support our journey in discovering him and ourselves. We all can learn something from everyone in our family. And yes, that includes younger relatives too.
Our blind spot is an area that we cannot see and when it comes to family, there are many blind spots. As a child, we feel like our family doesn’t quite see us for who we are, but for who they want us to be. They don’t recognise our gifts and talents and acknowledge our ideas, but instead put their experience and wisdom above ours. They think they know us well when they don’t. That could all be true, but consider this. You might be doing the same thing you are accusing your family of doing. Do you acknowledge and celebrate the gifts in your parents or siblings? Have you taken for granted that your family might actually know some information to help you solve a problem?
I ask these questions because sometimes in life, the thing we need the most is the thing we don’t give enough of. So if we feel like our parents don’t respect us, then we don’t give respect. If we feel as if someone is not trying to understand us, then we don’t try to understand.
No family is perfect and if you spent a day with another family, you might not see their flaws. But live with them for a month and surely you would. So turn over a new leaf today. Desire to love your family because God wants you to. We are changing each day and our family is trying to keep up with our changes. Be as patient and forgiving with them as you want them to be with you. Last, but not least, remember to love them as the people who were first in your life.