Loving the people that God has given us in our families is super difficult. We spend the most time with them, and because of that, we usually see the worst in them. They're blood, they're family; but they are sometimes the hardest to love.
But, if you call yourself a Christian, its very clear in the Bible that we are called to love- in every area of our lives.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. - 1 John 4:20-21 NIV
Why put in the work to love your family? Because, God has called us to do it!
Then the question is- how? How and what do I do to love my family?
I wish it was as easy as sitting back and going, yep, I love you. I love you a lot. But real love, like we looked at in the first Love Series post, real love does things. Love gets up off the couch and serves the people it loves!
So here are some things I have found really helpful when I have tried to better my relationships with my family.
1. Talk to your parents
Ouch. I remember a couple of years a go, I had something going on that I knew I had to talk about with Mum. I knew it was the right thing to tell her, and that I had to. But it took me a few weeks of plucking up the courage before I could even say one sentence. But I know the more I tell Mum about my troubles, my walk with God, friends and other things, the more I grow closer to her and show her I love her. Share life with your parents. Let them know how your feeling, what your doing, where your going, and everything that goes with it all!
2. Be quick to say sorry
All the fights I have had with my sisters has always boiled down to one thing, who was first to say sorry. As soon as one of us decided that the argument just wasn't worth it, and said sorry, we would all feel bad and immediately forgive and forget. My youngest sister and I are extremely alike. We have the same ideas and the same sort of attitude, so we have a lot of arguments about very little things. When I say sorry, I am not saying I agree with her, but I am saying sorry for not listening to her point of view, and being stupid with how I talk to her. You can forgive and still disagree.
Forgiveness shuts down every fight and argument.
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. - Matthew 6:12 NLT
3. Spend time and have fun with them.
When my family starts getting on my nerves, I noticed that when I spend time with them, doing some fun, just to have fun, it helps a real lot. I am not sure why, or how this exactly works. But if I decided to make some time to play a board game with my sister, and have fun with it, its so much easier to get along after it. When I joke around with my Dad and we just have fun, I find it easier to talk to him about stuff.
Make some time to unselfishly spend some time with your family 'just because'. And don't do things that maybe you want to do, but bless them and do the things they want to do. Go and give your dad a hand with some yard work. Go hang the washing with your Mum. Play a game or watch a movie with your brothers and sister.
So, those are three things that have really helped me get closer to my family and truly love them with my actions. At the end of the day, loving your family is really difficult. At the end of the day its your choice. You have to make it happen. You can either be best friends or arch enemies with your brothers and sisters. But if you work each day at it, you will have friends who will love and support you for life.
What sort of daughter and sister will you be?
This was the third post in the Love Series, stay tuned our next post by Taleisha comes out on Thursday!