In life, you get to pick most of the people that are around you. You get to pick who your friends are. You get to pick who you date or marry, but you don’t get to pick your family. You are born or adopted into this and you are stuck with them. You have to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly of your family.
So what are you supposed to do about this? I believe that there is a great example of how to deal with family in Bible. A man named Joseph in Genesis had a rough family. Joseph was born into a large family as the youngest of 12 boys (not including sisters) (Genesis 37). Joseph’s dad loved him more than any of his brothers because he was born to Jacob in his old age. Joseph had dreams from God where his family ends up bowing down to him. Now if his brothers didn’t already hate Joseph enough, he goes and tells them that they will bow down to him. Joseph’s brothers end up getting mad enough to have a plan to kill him.
Maybe you are in the position of Joseph. You feel hated by your family. You feel like your family doesn’t love you or want you or maybe you are one of the brothers. You feel like your sibling is loved more than you, like you’re not valued in your family. The feeling are valid, but it’s what you do with these feelings that we need to focus on. During these times you need to remember a few things:
1. Focus on your part. Joseph, in the end, sees the big picture here (Genesis 45). Instead of focusing on all the bad things that his brothers did to him and how they hurt him, Joseph chose to focus on what he could do now. He chose to focus on the things that he could do in this situation, which was to offer forgiveness and be content.
If you let it, bitterness and hatred will control your relationships. Instead of focusing on these things, Joseph focuses on his part in the relationship and offers forgiveness and healing. In your relationships with your family, do you focus on your part and offer forgiveness and love as Christ first offered it to you?
2. Trust that God can work in your family. Joseph didn’t have control over what his brothers would do with this information and with this forgiveness, he had to trust that God would work in his family. I wonder how many times while Joseph was a slave or in prison that he imagined how meeting his family would go. Would he ignore them? Would he tell them off? Would he fight them?
Eventually, he offers forgiveness and restoration to his family. He loves them and see’s that God’s potential for his life is to have right relationships with his family.
You don’t have control over the way your family will respond when you tell them about Jesus or offer forgiveness, but you do have control over what you will do. Will you trust that God can and will work in your family?
In life you don’t get to choose who your family is, but you do get to choose what you will do with the family you have been given. Will you choose to do your part in the relationship and offer love and forgiveness or hold onto bitterness and hatred?
Pastor Levi's thoughts on Christianity and Christians. I will try to update this every Monday.