Read Mark 3:31-35. Our families teach us so much. If we grew up in a Christian family, then they may have taught us how to pray, how to read the Bible, and how to take part in worship. But they may also have ingrained habits and ways of behaving which have an annoying habit of raising their ugly heads when we’re under stress.
Dealing with these is painful. None of us want to feel we are betraying our family in any way. And digging up the “dirt” on them seems unfair. But if we do not do the challenging work of going back to move forward, then the only way we can deal with these unhealthy habits and ways of behaving is to compartmentalise our “spiritual life” from the rest of our lives.
The problem is, of course, that it doesn’t work. I know from my own experience that we can make sure that our shoes are clean and that our uniforms are well pressed, and then dress up in them on a Sunday morning and then proceed to have an almighty row because someone in the family isn’t ready on time, or the girls are fighting or no one helped to get lunch ready. The family arrive at church barely speaking to each other and silently seething. The jack is out of the box again!
If we have unhealthy habits and patterns of behaviour that “pop out”, especially when we’re stressed, then the only thing we can do is go back to move forwards. It’s painful but we have little choice. The good news is that Jesus is more than willing to help remove the weight of this baggage. Let’s choose to place our hope in him.
THINK IT OVER
Think about the following:
• Over two or three generations, how was conflict handled in your family? Can you see this pattern in the way you handle conflict?