You love your family. But truth be told, there are one or two members you’re just not excited about seeing at your next holiday get-together.
There’s nothing horribly wrong with them. They just rub you the wrong way. Perhaps they’re a bit too critical. Or they’re always bragging about how much better their life, their spouse or their job is.
When we read what Jesus said in John 15:12 (ESV): “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you,” we want to do just that. But with some people, we hit the you’re-just-not-that-easy-to-love wall.
What if, this holiday season, we take an intentional step toward loving our most challenging family members? Beginning today, let’s prepare for their visit by praying for them during the weeks or days before we see them.
We can pray for their welfare – for whatever problem they’re struggling with. For them to experience God’s love. For God to intervene in their families. And for God to bless them.
We can also ask God to give us a compassionate heart toward them. To love them as He loves them – to love them the same way God Himself loves us.
Then when we see each other, let’s spend a little time with them. Ask how they’re doing, and really listen to their answers. Then we’ll know better how we can continue to pray for them.
Praying for others can help all our relationships. There are people who live in our neighborhood, attend our church, share our office space – and our homes – who are also challenging to be around. When we pray for them, God not only changes them, He changes us. He teaches us to be sensitive to what others may be going through. This helps us see and feel differently about them.
(Isn’t this what we would want others to do for us when we rub them the wrong way?)
Furthermore, praying and loving in this way could be the very thing we need to help us get to the next phase in our relationships – and our Christian walk. While it may not change our family members, it could change our attitude about our holiday get-togethers as we endeavor to love as God loves us.
(Revised from my archives.)
What about you?
You can use a pseudonym (fake name) when commenting.
- Will you consider praying for the hard-to-love-people in your live during this holiday season and into the new year?
- How will it change your relationships?
- How will it change you?