Patient and Kind
Thursday - December 30th
Scripture to Read Today: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient. Love is kind.
1 Corinthians 13:4
The week between Christmas and New Years Day provides families extra time together in a typical year. However, in terms of family time during the holidays, far from the "typical" years, 2020 and 2021 have been mixed bags. Some family members have been unable to even be together during the holidays.
Families that have spent time together as the calendar year comes to an end often find themselves squabbling over politics, pandemic protocols, or vaccine and mask mandates. Over the last two years, as a pastor, I have prayed more than ever with folks regarding family tensions. Marriages, parent-child relationships, and interactions with extended families have suffered from the stress of our societal pressures.
One grandmother I have known for a long time (and her children and grandchildren) told me that she and her daughter had never been at odds on anything before COVID. But, during Christmas 2020, they never got together at all, and they live 20 minutes from each other. The whole family met at this grandmother's home this year, but conversations quickly escalated into tension. Words were said. Feelings were hurt.
Today, many families seek to navigate how to talk and relate to each other amid strong disagreements about life in our current cultural environment. The details of the stories of family conflict change from one family to another, but the tension presents itself in the same unloving manner no matter what family.
As followers of Christ, we should be people who infuse family gatherings with unconditional love. We should help create an atmosphere in which disagreements do not rob us of the ability to love each other. We need to lead into family and friend gatherings with a love reflecting Jesus. We must stop making childlike excuses that sound like playground whining of "She started it. He made me this mad."
We need a patient love - a kind love. Reread 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Note the kind of love we are called to live out in our relationships here on earth. Ask yourself if the love Paul describes in that passage describes how you have been loving family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors.
We may disagree. We may see politics and protocols differently, but we must still live out the love of Christ in our relationships - especially with our families. We must shape our thoughts, attitudes, words, and behaviors so that others see Jesus in and through us.
We need to live out the patient, kind love of Jesus with family and friends!