My parents saw what I wrote on this forum and they both sent my an email concerning the matter of family. Maybe this thread will help some people with family issues and come together for the up coming Mothers day in May. Food for thought? Best wishes to all. Love your fellow family.
(when you have a few extra moments please read this very carefully). My heart went out from me a little bit when I read your e-mail and I want you to be encouraged- not torn away from the (big) family issues that are impacted our inner family now...
Webster defines family as: a group of individuals living under one roof and under one head.
A group of people regarded as deriving from a common stock, united by certain convictions or a common affiliation. (Spiritually-united in Faith in Jesus Christ as a family of believers).
Family should be united in one mind, one heart and one understanding. Our hearts should be together and in the right place- including our trust and faith in our Almighty God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. One-in-three. The triune God head of all creation. But, unfortunately, not all of us in our family may even believe this, If that were possible.
If were not always together in believing the really important common core beliefs in spiritual matters, then we do not have a very good chance of being together in common core family matters either. Our frame of reference is skewed just because our eyes and heart are not in the proper spiritual perspective. So, if our Heart, Soul and Mind is not in a perfect relationship to God, then we (the family) will suffer in relationships with one another.
Maybe I should have reminded you more of the many good times and precious memories rather than dwelling on a few of the latest negative aspects of the so called; present "Big-Family" picture as you put it. In "all" families there is some degree of "drama" at one time or another. "All" families have their share of "dirty laundry" (from time-to-time). However, there are families who I'm sure are more "discrete" and "tactful" in their relationships with each other and how they "relate and put-up" with to each other. As you can relate, I'm ashamed that I was not the best example at times rather, an example of what not to do and I can assure you, there were many times in my now 51-years that I often fell on my knees asking the Lord Almighty to forgive me of my sins.
As mentioned previously we (all) share a part of the blame in those sometimes; petty-childish-juvenile-immature-mean spirited-controlling and yes, even cowardly attempts in trying to make oneself appear slightly more polished than the other person. We are as I'm sure your aware are not polished rather, just simple ordinary "jars of clay" who differ in our appearance and attitude. Our glory in this life differs just as the stars do in their glory in the heavens above.
In regards to how we should treat one another you should already know my response as I have mentioned to you last evening. We should love one another as Christ loved us. That was his command to us. Even Peter wrestled with the forgiveness issue; "Lord, how many times should we forgive our brother? Seven Times?" Jesus said, even if it was seven times seventy you should forgive your brother as often as he asks. Jesus told us to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this is the law of the prophets." My grandmother and mother often referred this to my brother and I when we were growing-up in Ohio as she often heard it from her mother. The "Golden-Rule."
Josh, I may not have forgiven my "brother" (family members) as I should have in my heart through the years (even though nobody really asked for forgiveness or visa-versa for that matter) so I often ask God to help me in dealing with the big-family. But, this I do know and am quite sure. We as created living human-beings whom are all born with a sin nature and the internal capacity for knowing by a certain age what is right or what is wrong cannot for any reasonable length-of-time- keep ill will or harness a poor attitude toward our fellow brother or sister.
Our very soul is connected directly to our heart and mind. If there is a negative spirit that resides within our inner self it will surely start to destroy the positive spirit that is within our very soul. The two (good and evil) cannot co-exist together. If both try to occupy the same space in your heart for too long of a time they will be at odds with one another and both will suffer. Jesus said, you cannot serve both God and mammon: the worldly-lusts, the love of money and earthly possessions. At some point and time in our life, we all must make our choice and choose for each circumstance that crosses our path in the road of life. That's the dilemma that we "all" face in this life. To rightly choose when given a choice- to turn to the left or to the right? Just as Abraham and his nephew Lot when their flocks and families had grown too large for the grazing pastures where they had been living. They had to separate. Their herdsman were fighting between one another and disputes arose between them. (Genesis 13).
We are all born with a sin nature and until we come to know Christ through faith and accept His free gift of "Grace" (unmerited favor) shown to all who will believe on Him. It is through His death on Calvary's cross that all our sins were atoned for through His shed blood for you and me, our "inner" as well as our "big" family and all of mankind. He washes us and makes us clean. That acceptance of Christs work, the prophecies foretelling of His birth, His ministry, His life's example, His death and Yes, even His Glorious Resurrection 3-days later gives us all hope for a brighter life today in the midst of uncertainty in this present life we all can have a greater joy in knowing the faithful promises for a future life we can have with Christ the savior one bright glorious day with Him in paradise for all eternity.
So, all the inner and big-family issues; not to mention the bills, taxes, car maintenance, jobs and school, even the fear of death itself "in the big picture" of life in this world we can rest in the promise of a loving savior who died for the entire family. That way, all these things are really not that earth shattering. Rather, bumps in the road we travel in life- just like the unwelcome mosquito bites on the back of the neck and arms on a warm summer night. They happen, and sometimes there isn't too much we can do about them. We can take precautions, stick in there and put-up the good fight of faith just like the Apostle Paul. Hold onto the truth and do what is right. Trust and believe, be firm, and be fair. Know that God sees and knows what your going through because He also went though this life and suffered far more than either of us will fully know. He understands and He promises to be right there for you and I as we walk these rugged roads in this life. Believe me, the roads in heaven will be much smoother, happier and golden in the next life.
Josh, for now make the most of what knowledge and love He has given you to be a light and beacon of hope to all who will follow after you. Be encouraged through His promises, be strengthened by His words of life for He himself Is Life. Be a Light and shine as He told us. (Matthew 5:14-17) Because your light will help to give someone you know hope for today and lead those who maybe lost in the darkness to eternal life for a big family reunion in glory for tomorrow. Make your family, His family. For you are His and bought with a price.
What I'm trying to say to you as I would to anyone who would ask the questions you have risen regarding the family. I can only tell you from my own personal experience relating as I did with your grandfather and grandmother. There shouldn't be disputes but, they do arise form time-to-time. What really matters in the big picture is to be wise enough to not get caught-up in the little things in life that nag us all - that son, is life. How we respond to those circumstances and what we say and do reveal who we really are and whether or not we have the necessary "thick skin, broad shoulders' and strong backbone" to put-up with all these petty, childish, controlling and yes, even cowardly attacks from those within the so-called family unit.
That's why in so many ways we long to get back together to our little "inner" family as you put it- that is our "immediate" family and eventually one day will consist of the daughter-in-law(s) and grandchildren that your mother longs for one day to see and know as God will provide if He wills it to happen. Happiness can be found both in our "inner" as well as our "big-family" if we're all able to keep the right perspective and not allow all those "little petty" things in the family to become the "Big-petty" things in life. Maybe I'm not the best example of this because you have seen me get irritated at the so called "little-things" in life and for that I'm very sorry not to have been more of a positive example both to you and to your brother.
So, remember and strive to be a better example to your "inner" family. Always do your best to set your eye's (focus) on our real example whom is Christ the Lord. It is "He" that we should aspire to be like each day and in every situation. Be continually renewed by Him day-by-day, be conformed to His likeness, His example of "Family" and love- then you'll know what "All" families should be like. Then, as the Apostle Paul would say; I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances, I know what is is to be in need, and I know what is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13) .
We are not "you-people", we are His people. We are not of the present big-family, you are from our "inner" family and in Christ you are of God's family. You are His and if you are in Christ Jesus, He is in You. (1 John 4). You are of great worth in His eyes Joshua, for you are unique and You are very special.
The Apostle Paul said wrote these words: "Stand Firm" Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58)
He told us that He will return and He will. Believe on Him tell others of His saving grace, baptize them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...and He will be you- Always, even unto the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)
It's about being hospitable and making your family members feel welcome. A cool drink on a hot day or a cup of coffe on a cold one. A meal when your hungry or just a stick of gum.
Being able to say in love and with sincerity if you've offended another that- I'm sorry, I was wrong, I apologize, please forgive me for being insensitive to you.
Helping you when your car breaks down, giving you a ride without asking for anything in return. To borrow you some money if your in need and not nagging or reminding them to pay you back. Borrow a tool or give you something and exspecting something in return.
To bring you a meal when your tired and talk to you if your lonely or down. Visiting you in the hospital or home if your sick in bed.
Crying with you, when your sad or celebrating with you when your happy. Giving comfort or a shoulder to lean on when your down and weak. To encourge, strengthen, enlighten and most importantly give you something you need- a warm smile and a big hug.