By Sara Blasko, Children’s Ministry Director
When you ask people what they are most thankful for at Thanksgiving, the overwhelming response is Family. When you ask people what they are the most stressed about over Thanksgiving, many will say the same thing…Family! Family dysfunction has been around since the very first family…Cain and Able aren’t exactly the best examples of brotherly love. So how do you ensure that you can have a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season with your family?
Set up appropriate boundaries. I used to think that boundaries where bad, but I have learned that they are healthy and helpful. I read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend and found some really good tools to help with relationships.
Boundaries are a worldly solution to this problem, and I do agree that they are healthy, but my default for dealing with difficult people is to go to God’s word. The overwhelming response there is to love.
It may sound simple, but we all know that it is not. Remember the parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Pay close attention to the last verse…
Matthew 18:21-35 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
This one is tough…but we are told to forgive from our hearts. Not just the words…but from our hearts. I want my heavenly Father to welcome me with open arms to heaven. I do not want ugliness in my heart towards others period. If you are holding a grudge or have animosity towards someone, I urge you to let that go! It is not worth your spot in Heaven.