Posted by: Joe Palmer | June 12, 2010

Putting Up with the Relatives

Putting Up with the Relatives

By Joe Palmer

I Love my family, but they irritate me. They borrow things that they don’t return. They make messes they don’t clean up. They sometimes don’t do things that they say they will. Sometimes they start things they don’t finish. Sometimes they say things that make me mad.

I still love them. They are my family, my spiritual family. The church is a family. Being a family means living in close proximity and knowing each other intimately. The more you know about someone the more you discover their flaws.

What is tragic is sometimes we allow the flaws to be our focus. Instead of seeing all the good they do, we focus on the one or two things that irritate us. Our vision of that person becomes skewed. How do we learn to live together as a spiritual family in a better way?

1. Count their good qualities not their flaws -“Love is blind,” so they say. Love covers a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8) It sees the good not the bad.

2. Viva’ La Difference. – People are different. What one likes, another dislikes. These differences sometimes irritate us. Why? Because we are selfish. We want our way. We should remember that those differences are often blessings.

3. Look in the mirror – If I am unhappy with my family about something, it stands to reason there are things about me they are unhappy about. We need to work together.

4. Look up – If God overlooks our flaws shouldn’t we overlook other peoples flaws. Do we want to be like the unmerciful servant whom the Lord condemned because he was unwilling to forgive others? (Matt. 18:21ff)

5. Count the cost – If we offend our brother by our criticism we may push them away from the Church and cause them to be lost? Can we possibly feel good about that?

6. Be a Servant – Turn the other check. Love your enemy. If someone compels you to go with one mile, go two. Be willing to wash feet.

7. Don’t assume – Often Christians assume things that create problems. They think they know who did something, and why they did it. They assume that they were slighted on purpose. Most of the time we are wrong about one or more of our assumptions.

8. Yield – God asked people to yield to the conscience of others. Paul said, “If eating meat offends my brother I will eat no meat.” (I Cor. 8:13)

9. Follow the plan – God has a plan for dealing with conflict: Go to the person first, and go alone. If the conflict isn’t resolved take another Christian. If it is still unresolved take it to the church. Matt 18. Most of the time step one is the only step we will ever take.

10. Learn to love – Pray for the person who irritates you. Think positive thoughts about them. Look for opportunities to praise them. Refrain from gossip and criticism.

Joe Palmer


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