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! I’ve told you fifty times you look like a caveman when you eat like that.”
It’s a typical evening meal at the Nelson house. Dad is usually engrossed in his own world, but occasionally he looks up long enough to bark at Bryce.
“Dad, for once couldn’t you stop picking at me about something?” Bryce answers disgustedly. “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 lat.”
“There you go again,” Dad says with an angry edge to his voice, “taking sides with the kids. If you can’t support me, then keep your mouth shut.”
Thirteen-year-old Lara doesn’t like family arguments and tries to calm things down. “Dad, Mom means well. Please don’t get mad at her.”
“I’ve worked hard all day,” he replies. “When I come home I want peace and quiet, not criticism!”
“We’d all have peace and quiet if you weren’t always jumping on Lara and me,” Bryce says, his voice rising. “You yell about our music being too loud; you yell if we haven’t finished our homework; all you do is yell, yell, yell!”
“I don’t appreciate your attitude,” Dad snaps, his voice rising sharply.
Bryce abruptly pushes back from the table, knocking his chair to the floor. Well, I’m sick of your attitude,” he yells through gritted teeth. “I’m going over to Luke’s. At least his dad isn’t always yelling at me!”
Maybe you’ve noticed: Parents, brothers, and sisters aren’t always easy to live with. But let’s be honest—you aren’t always easy to live with either. “Okay,” one student admits, “so sometimes, especially when I have a bad day at school, I get so mad I lash out at Mom. I know it’s not her fault, but she’s just there and I guess I have to scream at somebody.”
So are you able to accept the truth about your problems, stresses, and emotional blowups? Can you be admit that living with you isn’t always a barrel of laughs for your family? Can you go to your parents and admit when you blow it? Can you say, “I know I’ve been cranky lately and I’m sorry about that. I appreciate your patience. I’m working on it”? In lots of situations, that kind of honesty between family members builds the closeness you all seek. And you never know—they might admit they aren’t perfect either.
REFLECT: Which of your faults do you like to blame on other people? Is there anything you need to own up to when it comes to getting along with your family?
PRAY: Ask God to give you a heart that is honest about your less-than-best side.