We all have a family. And while all families look different, there is one thing that they all have in common: conflict. When your little sister messes up your school project, when your big brother embarrasses you in front of your friends, when your mom or dad loses their temper at you over something that doesn’t seem like a big deal—all of these things are catalysts for conflict. And when they happen, our first instinct isn’t to try and make peace. If we’re being honest, we’d all probably admit that our first instinct is to fight back. To get even. To win. And while that might feel good at the time, eventually that feeling wears off and we’re back to where we started: with a tense and unresolved family conflict. There has to be a better solution than that, right? Jesus sure thought so! He taught His followers that the secret to finding peace in the middle of conflict was about more than seeing what the other person did wrong; it was about trying to see why they did it. And if we can embrace the move He tells us to make when it comes to our relationships, not only will the way we treat our family members change, but also maybe even the way they treat us.
Take some time to re-connect! Share a high and a low from your day or the last week.
What do you typically do when you don’t get your way with your family?
Why does family conflict often feel more intense than conflict anywhere else in life?
Beyond hurting each other’s feelings, what are some other reasons why trying to “get even” doesn’t work?
Luke 6:27-36 New International Version (NIV)
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
If someone else observed your life, how do you think they’d describe the way you treat each member of your family?
You’re not perfect either. If you remembered that during times of conflict with your family, how would it help you react better?
How do you want your family to respond to you when you mess up? What is one way you can do that very thing for your family this week when they hurt you?
What do you think would happen if you treated your family the way you want to be treated? Be honest: there are no right or wrong answers.
Almighty God our Father, your generous goodness comes to us new every day. By the work of your Spirit lead us to acknowledge your goodness, give thanks for your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. AMEN
Mark the Cross of Christ on each others foreheads as a remembrance of your baptism and say these words...
"(Name) you are a beloved Child of God."
What is this?
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