Lockdown has been tough on a lot of us. It has been especially difficult on the family unit. We are hearing on the news and social media of families breaking down through divorce, separation and situations of abuse. This is not a pleasant experience. The effects of the pandemic mean that many people are confined to one space for a period of time much longer than usual. How do we manage the difficulty of maintaining relationships when we are either too distant or too close for comfort?
When we were in lockdown for the first time, I never imagined the strain it would have on my family. All of us, in one place, at the same time, all of the time. We could not simply avoid problems or confrontation as easily as before. On the other hand, there are people who have experienced strain because of the extended separation from their families as a result of the restrictions. The typical means of escape of social outings for many had been removed. Figuratively and literally speaking, we were stuck, and we had to deal with the outcome of the situations we found ourselves in.
And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to standMark 3:25
Whether near or far, we are one house and we need our house to stand. The experiences we have of this unit can transform our relationships as adults. Family is the first foundation we typically have for relationships. How we treat and engage with our parents can demonstrate our respect for authority (Colossians 3:20), in turn display our obedience to God. We have a role as Christians to be light, to share the gospel with those around us, our family included.
God is about family relationships
Our families, those within our household, should be the first place we seek to display the love of Christ. It may not be easy, but it is a challenge that could transform our home life for the better. We should have more grace for our family members. Our parents or carers are trying the best they can during this unprecedented period. It is a testing time for everyone. We can try to reduce the burdens. We can help out with the household chores and generally not choosing to engage in conflicting situations when they arise. In times of conflict, we can choose peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of GodMatthew 5:9
It is the ‘turn the other cheek’ approach with our family, in hope of keeping the peace, that could be what is needed. And our example is Jesus, son of God (Galatians 4:4) and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Even Jesus yielded His will to the will of the Father, understanding His authority, Jesus trusted that He knew what was best in the situation that He faced (Luke 22:42). Instead of completely overthrowing the authority, as Jesus rightly had power to do, He completed the plan for our salvation. The plans proposed by our parents may not always be what we want, however instead of automatically resisting, we can proceed with love.
Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s loveEphesians 4:31-32
Through the manner and attitude in how we convey our points, we can diffuse tension during tough circumstances. Displaying the same grace that has been given to us by God, through Christ.
Honour your Parents, Honour God
As emerging adults, we have our own mind, our own way of doing things, however, we must remember under whose authority we submit and obey. Our quest for independence should not result in disrespect or dishonour towards our parents.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise)Ephesians 6:2-3
When we were younger, our parents looked after us and as we got older, we found ourselves having to look after our parents. It’s a natural cycle, one that should be taken very seriously. Respecting our parents should go above an expectation, it should be a delight to honour and respect the people who have looked after us. The scripture says that this is the first commandment that God gives with a promise, “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (Ephesians 6:3). A significant addition to emphasise the importance of honouring our parents. Understandably, there are situations where our biological parents have not been the main authority in our lives. However, whoever plays that role is equally, if not more, deserving of this respect.
Let’s try to be the best sons and daughters, honouring our parents and ultimately honouring God, our heavenly Father.