Prepare to see ‘that’ family member this holiday

You love your family. But truth be told, you’re just not excited about seeing one or two members at your next holiday get-together.

There’s nothing horribly wrong with them. They just rub you the wrong way. Perhaps they’re a bit too critical. Or they’re always bragging about how great their life, their spouse, or their job is.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1-2 “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”

Our hearts long to live out our Christian walk in a manner worthy of our calling. But with some people, we quickly hit the some-people-are-really-hard-to-bear wall.

What if, this holiday season, we take an intentional step toward the Ephesians 4 calling? Realizing, we too, may be hard to bear at times, let’s humbly choose to bear our most challenging family members by preparing for their visit. Beginning today, let’s start praying for them during the days or weeks before we see them. 

We can pray for their wellbeing. For them to experience God’s love. For God to intervene in their immediate families. And for God to bless them.

We can ask God to give us a compassionate heart toward them. To help us pray for them with the same compassion and understanding we want others to pray for us. We may never know how much they need our prayers.

Once they arrive, let’s spend a little time with them. Ask how they’re doing and listen to their answers. This way, we’ll know better how to continue to pray for them throughout the new year.

Praying and loving in this way could be the very thing we need to help us get to the next phase in our relationships – and in our Christian walk. When we realize how much God loves us (imperfect as we are) it changes us. We become more humble. Our hearts are softened in the relationship areas we’ve allowed ourselves to become hardened. We respond more patiently to other’s imperfect ways.

Praying for them may not change our family members, but it will change our attitude about our holiday get-togethers as we fulfill our calling as ambassadors (representatives) of our Savior, the Prince of Peace.

Sheryl H. Boldt is the author of the blog, Connect with her at [email protected].