I’m sure your family is just like mine. We can be kindhearted to each other and get along, but we can also be inconsiderate and fall out. We criticize, behind the other person’s back. In a crisis, when we should pull together, stress seems to tear us apart.
Jesus knew all about families not getting along. After all, he was part of one, and often his brothers were irritated with his behavior.
So, it should be no surprise Jesus knew his spiritual family would have problems, too, because, well frankly, we’re human!
During his last hours on earth, Jesus prayed for his spiritual brothers and sisters—for you and me, and all people who believe in him.
He specifically prayed for our unity.
By this, he did not mean we have to be alike, but we should be joined together in love for one another.
When you think about individuals within your home or church family, how do you feel about them?
Is there someone who pops into your mind right now who you don’t get on well with?
Notice the emotions rising up inside you. Do you have patience with them? Have you been kind and gentle towards them? Do you want to build them up?
Or, do you wish to tear them down, just a little? Do you sense any anger or “she makes me so mad” kind of reaction? Perhaps you feel bitter or jealous. Maybe you believe you are justified in being hostile to them. It could be their behavior makes it hard for you to be tolerant of them, let alone love them.
Jesus didn’t pray for us to be united so we would be one big happy family. Instead, he knew our love for each other was essential if other people were going to be drawn to him.
Remember, our struggle is not with other people. The Bible reminds us we are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against the powers of darkness. Let’s not let the enemy get a foothold in our family.
When you pray for other people, especially individuals with whom you serve, then take time to think truthfully about your feelings for each person. We should consider, as we make personal prayer: Is anything standing in the way of me loving that person? If so, talk to God honestly about it, and ask him to help you have a change of heart.
Linking up with Ember Grey at #GratefulHeart, Krista Q at #MeetUpMonday, Abby McDonald at #RaRaLinkup, Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends and Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart
Rachel, this is such an important reminder for this time of year. I love how you address the fact that our struggle is not with our family members. The enemy would like nothing better than to destroy our relationships. Great insights here. Thanks for sharing.
Tough topic, but thank you for laying it out for us!
Great post! It’s hard to not say, ” How dare they do that to me or say that to me! ” My mother told me I was nicer to people than they were to me. I’m not a shrinking violet, i won’t take just anything, but you are so right about the enemy. He will use your family, friends, even fellow Christians loan him their voice on occasion, you really have to pick your battles, the Lord has already won and fights for you, don’t worry about the accuser of the brethren.
It is hard not to say “how dare you.” But, we should practice directing those words at the real enemy, right?
Rachel I am so glad you are our new friend at Sitting Among Friends. I look forward to reading your posts. I tweeted one of you links because it is such a great reminder that Jesus family showed animosity toward Him. He knows what it feels like to be in a family. The other part that I thought was such a great reminder was “The Bible reminds us we are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against the powers of darkness.” I am going to put that in my back pocket. At my last church, I felt like that a lot and I felt like I was fighting against powers of darkness. What I have to keep reminding myself is that the power in me is greater than the power in this world. Show I need to use that power by using the Love of Christ for people and not trying to use my own power, which fails me quite often. Thank you for sharing this friend.
Not an easy reminder, but an important one. I’m working on this–but it’s definitely a work in progress 🙂
Beautiful and thoughtful … and very much needed, Rachel. I’ll leave it at that!
I’m so glad I popped in this morning. And I wish for you a blest new year filled with surprises that only God can give …
Exactly what I needed to hear (or read)! I started to write my own blog post on this subject, but I found that I couldn’t. I had my own issues to work out first. Thanks for clearing my head with fitly spoken words.
Yes, I’m trusting for grace to turn my internal complaints into prayer requests. The thing is — as inexplicable as some people are, I have to realize that they are probably puzzling over me as well!
Loved the statement that we are not fighting against flesh and blood. I do have some family struggles so thank you for this reminder! Joining you on #TestimonyTuesday
Praying that your family struggles get resolved and God’s love shines through, Pam. Thank you for sharing.
What a great reminder – and very well-crafted. These words stopped me in my tracks: “The Bible reminds us we are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against the powers of darkness. Let’s not let the enemy get a foothold in our family.” Amen! Thanks for sharing this! Keep writing and Happy New Year!
Thanks Karen and Happy New Year to you, too.
You are speaking directly to me. I needed to be reminded to pray those family members that I’m grumbling about under my breath. I do not wish to have that bitterness darken my heart. It can creep in so quickly. You have made me aware Thank you
Mary, I am humbled God could speak to your heart through the words I had written. And, I too, need to hear God speaking because it is so easy to grumble about my family.
“Notice the emotions rising up inside you” — I like this line, because mindfulness is so critical in all relationships, especially ones where tension exist. Thanks you for sharing your thoughts!
Such a great post. “He did not mean we have to be alike, but we should be joined together in love for one another.” – I love that. Thanks for linking up today and sharing this!
Thanks Emily. Glad you enjoyed it.