Dealing With Family Conflict At The Holidays

Everyone has someone they wish wasn’t in their family. And every generation blames the one before. When my children act in a way contrary to how I’d prefer, I often tell my husband “He takes after your side of the family!”

What better time to find faults in our families than at holiday time. All gathered in close quarters, we almost dare our relative not to act the way they did the last time we were together. In the past, we may have tried to make a mends but for some reason, there is no break-through in the personality differences. Therefore, we walk away hurt after another holiday has come and gone vowing to give the offending relative a piece of our mind!

Moses found himself telling God he just couldn’t take it anymore. The children of Israel were whining, complaining and unwilling to work on their spiritual deficiencies. They began to murmur against Moses and the Lord. God was not pleased at their actions or words. God had not only provided their freedom from slavery, but they wanted even more. Even worse, they really did not want anyone to tell them what they could or could not do.

Moses was so depressed at trying that he actually told the Lord in Numbers 11:15, “If this is how you’re going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” Moses wanted to die because the conflict was so bad.
There will be times in each one of our lives when God gives us a task to do that appears to be far too great for us to handle. At first, prideful thoughts can tempt us to think we can handle the conflict no matter how great the challenge may seem. However, God did not create us to work independently of Him.

If you want to reach your full potential, allow God to have the relationships causing you such worry. Many people believe they have given their problems to God, but they haven’t. They lay them down at His feet only to turn around and pick them up again.
How do you know when you’re still carrying the burden of a strained relationship with a family member?  You know it by the weight of that burden. If it is heavy to the point of being destructive, stop and ask God to show you if He wants you to bear this load on your own. Jesus instructed His followers in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus wanted the people to give their burdens--including their strained family relationships--to Him. A yoke was used to couple animals together so they could work more effectively. When we share our burdens with Him and show a gentle and humble attitude to our offenders, Jesus comes alongside us and lifts the yoke up so it is not weighing us down. But if we insist on shouldering the weight alone, we will fall and not get up.
It boils down to a matter of trust. Do you trust God with your strained family relationships?