In a world filled with complexities, one of the most sacred bonds is the bond of family. Yet we all have that one uncle or cousin who tends to bring up something offending someone or bringing up tension just because they like to spar. Alas, even within families, divisions can arise, causing rifts and emotional turmoil. Today, we turn to the inspiring words of Mark 9:38-50 to find guidance on how to heal these divisions and restore unity within our families.
Verse: Mark 9:38-50 (NIV) “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”
It’s easier to say that we should be more united, but far harder to do it. So how do we “survive Thanksgiving” knowing all of the possibilities for tension within our families? Here are a few ideas:
- Embrace Inclusivity: Just as Jesus taught his disciples about the importance of inclusivity, we too must embrace this value within our families. Rather than dwelling on differences or holding onto grudges, let us recognize that when someone acts in love and compassion, regardless of their background, they are working towards the same goal as us. Healing begins by welcoming others with open hearts, acknowledging their contributions, and valuing their unique perspectives.
- Choose Forgiveness: Jesus’ response to John’s concern exemplifies the power of forgiveness. By forgiving those who may have caused division or hurt within our families, we release the burden of resentment and open ourselves to healing. It is through forgiveness that we can begin to rebuild trust, mend broken relationships, and create a harmonious environment where love and compassion can thrive.
- Cultivate Understanding: In our journey towards healing, it is crucial to cultivate a genuine understanding of one another. This involves active listening, empathy, and seeking to see things from the perspective of our family members. By doing so, we create an atmosphere of respect and validation, where every voice is heard, and every individual feels valued and understood.
- Practice Humility and Love: We are called to emulate the qualities of Jesus, who embodied humility and unconditional love. Let us humbly recognize our own shortcomings and focus on cultivating love within our hearts. Love has the power to bridge divides, heal wounds, and bring about transformative change. By practicing love in our words and actions, we inspire others to do the same, fostering an environment of unity and togetherness.
Healing divisions within families is a journey that requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to let go of past hurts. As we reflect on the teachings found in Mark 9:38-50, may we be inspired to embrace inclusivity, choose forgiveness, cultivate understanding, and practice humility and love. Let us embark on this journey with a sense of urgency and excitement, knowing that the healing of our families will bring about personal growth and transformation that will impact generations to come.
See you Sunday as we dig deeper into ways to not only survive but to thrive during the holidays!