Your friends, family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.
OK, so I admit it. I’m not normally a reader of Max Lucado’s work. But I have had many chats lately with a lot of people feeling pain about the “hellidays,” family time, obligations and expectations, stresses and so on. Not a lot of excitement about connecting with the famdamly in these conversations. So, I thought I’d pass along something someone sent me about how Jesus dealt with his own family. Nothing original here…not in terms of what I’m posting, but also not in terms of the challenges we all face with the folks we want to love, or wish would love us.
It’s painful for a lot of people this time of year…it’s lonely for many and the truth is that I think most of us wish for some version of Norman Rockwell when in truth we have some version of the Manson family. So, as we go into a time that is intended to celebrate the harvest and abundance of another year, I thought I’d post this as a reality check. Because if the guy a lot of people believe is God in the flesh wasn’t understood or appreciated by his family, then maybe it’s a little easier for us to let go some too…
Also, if I don’t make it back here before Thanksgiving~~ May you feel the blessings and peace of a loving and abundant universe. May you live in peace and dwell in gratitude. May you feel the arms of a loving God in the hugs of friends and family. May you celebrate another year of bountiful, joyful harvest in your life. May you giggle and chuckle, rest and play, eat, drink and be merry. May you be blessed with good friends and a spiritual family that is deep, rich and wide. And, if you are so inclined, May you remember all for whom this time of year is painful and send them a few prayers and some of your own joy as well. Thanks. Peace and blessings to all…
With that, I leave you with Max Lucado…
Dealing with Difficult Relatives
by Max Lucado
Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes, there is.
It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a difficult family. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’.
“His family … went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).
Jesus’ siblings thought their brother was a lunatic. They weren’t proud—they were embarrassed!
It’s worth noting that he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.
Each of us has a fantasy that our family will be like the Waltons, an expectation that our dearest friends will be our next of kin. Jesus didn’t have that expectation. Look how he defined his family: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35).
When Jesus’ brothers didn’t share his convictions, he didn’t try to force them. He recognized that his spiritual family could provide what his physical family didn’t. If Jesus himself couldn’t force his family to share his convictions, what makes you think you can force yours?
Having your family’s approval is desirable but not necessary for happiness and not always possible. Jesus did not let the difficult dynamic of his family overshadow his call from God. And because he didn’t, this chapter has a happy ending.
What happened to Jesus’ family?
Mine with me a golden nugget hidden in a vein of the Book of Acts. “Then [the disciples] went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.… They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers” (Acts 1:12, 14, emphasis added).
What a change! The ones who mocked him now worship him. The ones who pitied him now pray for him. What if Jesus had disowned them? Or worse still, what if he’d suffocated his family with his demand for change?
He didn’t. He instead gave them space, time, and grace. And because he did, they changed. How much did they change? One brother became an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and others became missionaries (1 Cor. 9:5).
So don’t lose heart. God still changes families.
From He Still Moves Stones
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado