Division in a Family
“A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, ‘All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!’” 2 Samuel 15:13 (NLT)
Reconciliation often seems easier with friends, co-workers or even acquaintances than with family.
Several years ago, a few issues caused division in my family. Both sides felt equally justified in their anger toward each other. Family gatherings changed dramatically. Eventually we called a truce, but when we gather around the table for a holiday meal or to celebrate a birthday, things still feel tense.
Oh, the deep cuts a family feud can make, especially between a child and a parent. We see this in 2 Samuel 15:13 when King David’s son, Absalom, turned against his father: “A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, ‘All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!’” (NLT)
Absalom was angry with his father, and in retaliation he turned an entire nation against King David. If only this son had sought reconciliation instead of revenge, things could have been different. Interestingly enough, Absalom’s name means "peace of my father." Sadly, he chose not to reconcile his anger and rather brought strife, instead of peace, to David.
At the same time, David could have played a more active role in seeking reconciliation. But for some reason, he chose not to do that. (If you’re not familiar with Absalom’s story, or would like some comfort that even key people in the Bible had imperfect families, read more of their story in 2 Samuel, chapters 14-18.)
Is there strife in your family? Maybe get-togethers are awkward or always end in an argument. Or perhaps you have stopped talking to each other altogether. Many things can stand in the way of true reconciliation: pride, bitterness, anger, resentment and miscommunication.
We can’t overcome these in our humanness, but instead we can cry out to God and tell Him we need His help.
It is only then that we can “get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT).
The Lord created us to be in community with one another, including our families. To do this, we often need extra doses of grace and kindness! Some issues are tough and will take a lot of prayer and great discernment to work through. We can’t control what others think, do or say, but we can be responsible for ourselves.
Let’s take some time today to examine our hearts for bitterness, rage, anger and harsh words and determine if we’ve misunderstood the intentions of family members we are feuding with.
Lastly, let’s ask the Lord to clean our hearts so we can be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. I think we’ll be surprised how different get-togethers, celebrations and family reunions are after God has cleansed our hearts!
Lord, I thank You for my family. Reveal harbored feelings that have stolen our peace. I ask You for the courage to pursue peace we need and You desire. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 37:8, “Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper — it only leads to harm.” (NLT)
James 1:19-20, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If you are in the midst of a family feud, be honest with yourself about the part you have contributed. Repent to God of any sin and ask your family members for forgiveness. Pray for God to reconcile your family.