So, are you respectful when company comes over? Were you obedient to your parents at Grandma’s during Thanksgiving this year? Maybe you were, but how about when everything is normal; on a typical day at your house? A lot of times, it’s much more difficult to be a light for Christ in your own home then when you’re with friends and family.
So why is it so hard? Why, in some cases, is it so easy to be Christ-like when we are surrounded by friends and company, but so hard when living in our routine environment?
Why Aren’t We as Nice to Our Family vs. Others in Public?
Well, one practical reason is because we know our family so well, and we know what they struggle with. We much too often take our families for granted, and don’t try to respect them. If you’re stuck with someone every day, then you don’t just see their “public” side, you see their “everyday routine” side. When you go out in public, you naturally want people to enjoy interacting with you, so you forgive easily, smile, and try to make a good impression. But what if you’re with that person EVERY DAY? You’re going to get tired of smiling for one thing. And for another, you’re going to start learning them and getting expectations. When someone does something you don’t like, then you’ll probably forgive them easily when in public. On the other hand, if they keep doing that all the time, you’re going to get tired of it and expect them to do it. Then you develop hard feelings for them because of all the things you know they do, and you get mad with them regularly when they do the things you don’t like, because you know that they do it a lot. That is essentially why we get mad at siblings and family members so easily sometimes.
Why Does God care?
Believe me, God cares. That’s pretty obvious. But why exactly? Here’s a verse that explains parents.
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord” – Colossians 3:20
Now think about it. When your parents tell you to wash the dishes, what is obeying? Well, if you aren’t being respectful or efficient in your task, then you aren’t obeying them to the fullest extent. God wants you to obey Him with all your heart. If He says to obey your parents, then you are to obey them with all your heart. Therefore, obeying your parents means to do it with all your heart, and without grumbling or complaining, etc.
What about our siblings or cousins? Well, here’s what God says.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” – 1 Timothy 5:8
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
So what does this tell us? The first verse tells us to provide for our relatives, and explains how important this is. It’s really important! God says that you are worse than an unbeliever if you do not provide for your relatives. And remember, providing for your relatives is to be done with all your heart, because you are to obey your Lord with all your heart.
The verses from John are even more important in my opinion. Here, God tells us to love one another. Not to love them IF they are being good, but to love them; period. On top of this, God says that others will know that we are His disciples by the fact that we love each other. This means that we are to have love for one another, and that if we do, we will be recognized as God’s followers by others. This is a very important task God gives us, and again, we are to do it with all our heart.
LOVE your relatives and especially your siblings and parents! Treat them with the respect that God said we should! Read your Bible to find out more examples of the love God says we should treat our brothers with, and then apply it to your life. Having peace in our own homes is the first step to having peace with many others. If you can be forgiving to your little brother when he falls, then you’ll be more prepared to forgive your wife or husband when they fall. Also, having a loving and forgiving attitude toward your parents is absolutely necessary for a successful walk with God. After all, if we do not love our brother, then we should never claim to love our God (1 John 4:20).
If you have family troubles, then I would encourage you to pray about them. Ask God to give you the strength to be the forgiving one when a conflict arises. Start living closer to God right now by working on family problems, and keep at it! God will reward you, believe me, and He WILL help you along the way if you ask Him to. Don’t give up if you fall every now and then, just stay strong and keep trying! God said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” so be a peacemaker right now in your own home, and experience the joy of having harmony within your family.