It is not particularly hard to sound like a Christian. Talking the talk is not too tough—all it takes is some hallelujahs and amens and “I believes.” Looking like an authentic Christian is harder, because when Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me,” he invested his whole life in his commitment.
We live in a country with so many social programs and entitlements that people look to the government first for their needs. St. Paul challenges us to... Read More
Are you a chatterbox family? When you get together, does the emotional level rocket up? Do you all talk at the same time, interrupt each other, and just delight in what’s going on in each other’s lives? If so, you probably drive your in-laws crazy. But even if you aren’t huge talkers, you have probably figured out by now that families need communication.
Talking to each other is oxygen for your family ties. Mom loves your calls. Dad appreciates the... Read More
Are you a proud person? Is pride bad or good?
You have certainly been disgusted at some point by a braggart who was really full of himself. Have you ever been hurt by a woman who let you know that she was far above you? We can all stand to work on humility in our words and tone.
But, you know, there is a good kind of pride, and that is the satisfaction that comes from doing a job well,... Read More
I saw a T-shirt in an airport shop once that said, “Just do whatever I want and nobody gets hurt.” Do you know anybody who acts like that? Do you act like that? It is a family’s job to help each of its members to find fulfillment in serving one another, not in taking from one another. But—some strong-willed people train other family members to wait on them. Are you more of a manipulator or manipulatee?
St Paul has a... Read More
Among the cruelest and stupidest words known to man are the words, “I don’t need you.” These have been flung at family members by disgruntled spouses and angry kids. Nothing could be more wrong.
You only get one set of birth relationships. Our identity and security are wrapped up with these sometimes nice and sometimes foolish folks. Whenever we cut these ties, something dies inside us. Conversely, the more we tend these relationships, the better we take care of them,... Read More
“He Ain’t Heavy; He’s My Brother.” Okay, okay. Corny, ancient pop song of Neil Diamond’s that became an overused cliché. But you know what? It’s true!
Maybe you have a brother or sister who has made a string of bonehead decisions. They’ve used drugs, had children outside of marriage, squandered money, destroyed a marriage, can’t seem to hold down a job. What are you supposed to do? It’s not your job to take care of them, is it?
God says,... Read More
It’s hard to build things that last. Everything man-made is constantly eroding and cracking and crumbling. God intended sister-love to be life long, but like all good things, sister-love doesn’t take care of itself.
Christian sisters grow in their relationship. They see things more clearly as time passes, they learn to let go of resentments, and they learn to cut their siblings some slack. They see that our patient God works it both ways—always making our lives better, sometimes through... Read More
Here are some easy things: being judgmental about your brothers, criticizing, chopping down to size, staying aloof, not caring, running them down behind their backs. Here are some hard things: staying close to the family “black sheep,” listening with an open mind, telling the truth in love, taking abuse.
Jesus spoke the following words originally about “church brothers,” but if they are true in church, how much more are they true in the family? “If your brother sins against you,... Read More
The closer you live to other people, the easier it becomes to hurt them. You know how to push all your family’s buttons, don’t you? We’re all so doggone insecure that we often resent a sibling’s success. By nature we assume that there is only one size pie of family benefits and that if one kid gets something nice, it automatically means a smaller slice for me.
You have the power to wound deep. You also have the power to... Read More