During the holiday season, people often spend more time with family than any other time of the year. And let's face it, sometimes family members can challenge our love walk more than any other people in our lives. This year, let's make sure that we guard the atmosphere of peace during family gatherings and that your good intentions to help others won't open the door to offense either.
For example, when you see someone doing something differently from the way you would do it, what do you do? Do you try to "help" them by offering your advice? Do you try to correct others when you know of a better way or disagree with their methods?
Oftentimes, we don't even realize we are doing this because we genuinely care about the person and want to offer them the wisdom that we've learned over the years. Unfortunately, more often than not, that unsolicited advice actually drives a wedge in relationships. I see this all the time between husbands and wives, parents and children, and even close friends. Most people already know the areas they need to work on. They don't really need to have someone point out their shortcomings or "fix" them. If you think about it, when you set out to "fix" someone, what you're really saying is, "You're not good enough the way you are." But that's not what people need. What people need is to know that they are loved unconditionally. They need to know they are approved and accepted even when they miss the mark. People want to know that they can count on your love and support no matter what happens.
We've all been guilty of trying to fix, teach or correct someone else. My own mother used to tell me, "If I could open up your head and pour my knowledge into it, I would." But she couldn't, and neither can I for my children or anyone else…and neither can you! Our job on this earth is not to fix everyone but to love and support them and give them the grace to grow.
Today, I encourage you to evaluate how you approach your relationships and family members. Begin by acknowledging the good you see in others. Tell them how proud you are of them and how they bring joy to your heart. Use your words to strengthen others and deposit life into them. Give people room to grow, and serve up love this holiday season!
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)