We all have family.
We may have in-laws and out-laws, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and extended family galore.
Some of us love our family and love getting together with them.
Some of us don’t love all of our family that much and get togethers are scary to say the least.
I grew up in a large family as my mom is one of 5. We always did Christmas Eve as a very large group with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins that counted well past 2nd and 3rd. It was so much fun! Then all got together again for Christmas morning for breakfast. I remember it being really crowded in my grandparents house but it was great. I don’t remember their being any issues. I was a kid and life was good.
But as we have all got older times have changed. I can see the problems. The ones that are not always as welcomed. The ones that are not the favorites. The ones that don’t come to all the family get togethers.
When you are older you can see more with open eyes than when you are young.
You may notice that there are all sorts of types of people in your family. There could be introverts and extroverts, republicans and democrats, Christians and athiest, stay at home moms and working moms. This could be a recipe for disaster for sure!
These family times do not have to be stressful or torture. It can be calm, stress free, and enjoyable!
They can be times of learning and loving, letting go of control, and depending on God. It could be a time that God has designed to use you or someone else to reach someone that may be lost or needs a reminder of our Loving Father.
How Can We Have Peace With The In-Laws and Out-Laws
Here are a few tips for how you can have peace during the holidays with your family.
Make Peace Your Ultimate Goal
If you desire peace and strive for peace and make it a goal then you can have it. You can not control how everyone behaves but you can strive to meet your goal anyway.
Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
You can not control another persons behavior but you can control yours and your reactions.
Control your reaction to behaviors.
You can not control others actions and they may be hurtful or cruel.
You can control your actions making sure you are not hurtful or cruel.
You can not control how others think about you, their opinions on your mothering, cooking, finances, political views, or your spirituality.
You can control your conduct and make sure everything you do is pleasing to God.
Make sure that when everything is over that you did what you could to bring glory to God.
Make sure that you have no regrets for the way you acted or reacted.
As you go into this season think of one person that you will see that you have a hard time getting along with or you avoid.
Now think of something that you can do to reach out to that person to show the unconditional love. Think of a way to show them the Love of Jesus this Christmas. (Unconditional love means it has nothing to do with their actions or beliefs.) Show the Love of Christ this Christmas and let God work through you.
Prepare Your Heart
Maybe you have had conflict with a family member in the past. Think back, did you pray for the situation?
This year pray in advance for this person or people and for the situation. Pray for your interactions with them. Ask God to prepare your heart for the family interactions that will take place this season. Make notes to remind you to pray for this time and how God will use you.
Prepare Your Home
If you will be hosting a family gathering in your home then take the time to prepare. Make each person coming feel welcome. It could change their attitudes when they walk through that door if you greet them and welcome them. Have something special for that person that likes to cause a scene. Make a special treat that they love and let them know it is just for them. Have a seat ready for them so they don’t feel unwanted.
If you have a family member that just likes to get to you by meddling, putting you down or making smart comments every time you turn around then pray hard. 🙂 This is going to be hard but I want you to think of one or two things that you really like about this person. Buy a card just for this person. In it mention then things you really like about them and how glad you are that they are in your life. Mail it to this person a week before the gathering. Now, don’t expect a reaction. Don’t expect a thank you. Don’t expect change. Just pray that God will soften their heart and that change will happen. But don’t be disappointed if you don’t see change. This is for God not her anyway.
Along with praying for this time with these people I want you to meditate on this up coming time. Say these things to yourself daily.
I love my family.
I am blessed to have family.
I am blessed to have these people in my life.
God is good to me.
God loves everyone.
And don’t forget to smile.
What God Says
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”