Bible Reading: Romans 15:1-6
May God . . . help you live in complete harmony with each other—each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other. Romans 15:5
“Sit up!” Dad barks. “I’ve told you a hundred times that you look like a caveman when you eat like that.”
It’s a typical evening meal at the Nelson house. Dad usually sits in silence, wrapped up in his thoughts. Once in a while he looks up long enough to correct Bryce.
“Dad,” Bryce says, “would you stop picking at me? Just once I’d like to eat a meal without being yelled at for something I’m doing wrong.”
“Honey,” Mrs. Nelson breaks in, “I think Bryce is right. You do criticize him a lot.”
Dad glares at Mom. “You’re taking sides with the kids again,” he says. “If you can’t support me, then don’t say anything.”
Bryce’s sister, Lara, can’t stand family arguments. She tries to calm everyone. “Dad, Mom means well. Please don’t get mad at her.”
“I’ve worked hard all day,” he shoots back. “When I come home, all I want is peace and quiet.”
“It would be a lot quieter if you weren’t always jumping on Lara and me,” Bryce says, his voice rising. “All you do is yell, yell, yell!”
Do you ever have a hard time getting along as parents and brothers and sisters? It’s easy to blame the other family members for our fights. But let’s be honest: none of us are easy to live with. Like one boy admits, “Sometimes, especially when I have a rotten day at school, I get so mad that I take it out on Mom. I know it’s not her fault, but she’s just there. I guess I have to yell at somebody.”
It’s a really grown-up thing when we can own up to our own problems, stresses, and blowups. We can begin by being honest about these three big questions:
1. Can I admit that living with me isn’t always a barrel of laughs?
2. Do I admit that sometimes the problem is me?
3. Do I confess my faults to other family members when I’ve blown it?
Your family will build God’s kind of harmony when you make comments such as the following: “I know I’ve been cranky lately, and I’m sorry about that. I appreciate your patience. I’m working on it.”
That’s the kind of honesty that builds the closeness you need and want. It’s the honesty that might get all of your family members to admit they aren’t perfect!
TALK: How could being honest about our failings bring us closer together?
PRAY: God, help us to be honest when we act less-than-our-best at home.
ACT: Is there anything you need to say to the other folks in your family about your struggles to get along?