Lessons We Can Learn From Our Family

Dear Friends,

We recently enjoyed a family holiday in Belgium.  When I say family, I mean the four of us, my parents, my sister, her husband and their daughter.

It was a real blessing to be away together.  I loved to see my Dad playing board games, such as Scrabble, with my kids.  And Jess painting our female relatives' finger nails.  It was so good to watch the three generations of our family interacting and having fun together.

When we went out during the day we would vary the kind of activities that we did, so that everyone got the opportunity to do the things they really wanted to, such as visiting the zoo or going to a war museum.  Compromises were willingly made because we wanted everyone to have fun.

It was good to enjoy some quality time together in an unrushed, relaxed atmosphere.

Everyone contributed to making it a good time away.  For example, Jason did what he's good at - cooking.  Jim (my brother-in-law) would often take care of the clean up after a meal.  Responsibilities were shared.

Having said it was a blessed time away, it did have its moments - because no family is perfect.  And although we were one big family, we were also coming together as three separate smaller family units.  Of course, each of these units have their own way of doing things, and this can potentially be a cause of friction between one another if one family likes to do things one way and another family prefer to do it another way.  When you're with any group of people, give and take and understanding is needed.

The day we arrived had been a particularly long day.  We were up at 3.30am preparing to leave home and we didn't arrive at our holiday home until the evening.  By this time I was feeling very tired and not in the best of moods.

I was grateful to Trina (my sister) for unpacking food items and other necessities we had brought  for the kitchen.  However, I noticed she had not placed the beverages, such as tea and coffee in the right area (according to my opinion).  Noting they were not where they should be, ie., near the kettle, I moved them when she was in another room.  I'm ashamed to say I was feeling frustrated and was not displaying a great attitude.  There would have been a much more sensitive way of doing things, but I was too tired and too impatient to consider another way.

After a good night's sleep, I realised that I had gone about it in the wrong way and I could have been the one to create an uncomfortable atmosphere in the house.  I hadn't considered her or her feelings at all.  I felt the need to apologise to her later on in our holiday.  She was very forgiving and hadn't seen it as a problem at all, which was very good of her.

The family is God's idea and we see the importance of family right from the beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis.  God understands the value of family relationships.  Our natural families are supposed to be a reflection of the family of God which we also belong to the moment we accept Jesus as our Saviour and God as our Heavenly Father.  God intended for us to learn how to love others through our daily interaction of loving our own family, .

We learn to love our church family better when we experience what loving others means in our own natural family.

Here are some of the lessons I learned or was reminded of, during our family holiday:

1. Be patient with each another when things are not done the way I like them to be done.   "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love."  Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)  

The following verse reminds me of the important role that God's Holy Spirit has in each of our lives. 
"Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace." Ephesians 4:3 (NLT)

2. Own up to my faults and sins and receive forgiveness.
"bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."  Colossians 3:13 (ESV)

3. Consider the needs of others rather than selfishly focusing on my own needs.
"Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." Philippians 2:4 (NLT)

4. It's good to have fun and enjoy each others' company.  As well as times of fun, there will, however, be times of sadness, during those times we can comfort one another as only a family who loves can do.
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven...A time to cry and a time to laugh.  A time to grieve and a time to dance."  Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 (NLT)

5. Each family member has their part to play.  The family functions best when each person is involved.
"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other."  Romans 12:4-5 (NLT)

To Think About:
How does your family reflect God's family?

How has your own family taught you to love God's family better?

Is there anything you could do to build your relationship with others in God's family?

Vicki

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