4 Tried-and-True Bible Tips to Deal with Difficult Family Members During the Holidays
Our families can be full of people who rub us the wrong way—especially during the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Maybe they use family gatherings as an excuse to hurl insults, use inappropriate language or intrude in personal matters. Whatever the hurtful habits, they can often cause an uncomfortable atmosphere during a special holiday.
Christ has called us to walk in love toward others. In fact, He calls it the second greatest commandment (Mark 12:31). Yet, perhaps, you find when you set out to love others and show patience, you end up faking a smile and cringing inside.
How can we possibly respond the way God wants us to while so many negative emotions are boiling beneath the surface?
Scripture is a treasure trove of practical advice about how we can deal with difficult family members using wisdom and love. If you’re facing a challenging family get-together this Thanksgiving or Christmas, try these four tried-and-true tips from God’s Word.
1. Don’t Take the Bait
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25
Unforgiveness is a favorite tool of the devil to get you out of alignment with God’s Word. It is also one of the greatest hindrances to healing and blessing. That’s why immediately after giving instructions about faith, Jesus emphasized the importance of forgiveness (Mark 11:25). Notice the words when you are praying. Don’t wait. As soon as someone offends you, forgive immediately, and your prayers will never be hindered.
2. Keep Silent
“He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.” Proverbs 17:27, NKJV
This can be a tough one. So often, when someone is out of line, you can think of the perfect thing to say back. It can be tempting to put someone in their place. Yet, God says the perfect thing to say is often nothing at all. Keep yourself from speaking out of anger or hurt. Let your words be cautious and kind. Silence is golden, so think before you speak.
3. Pray in the Spirit
“The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness…. [and] prays for us…. ” Romans 8:26
At a loss for what to say or do in the face of a difficult person? It’s no problem for the Holy Spirit! He’s ready and willing to help you any time you need Him. Praying in tongues is the only way we can pray beyond what we know. When we pray in tongues, we activate the Holy Spirit within us, and He begins to teach us and enlighten us on how to respond to people in a godly way.
4. Ask for Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5, NKJV
All of us need the wisdom of God on a daily basis, and He has told us He will give us all we need. Before and during your holiday gathering this year, pray for discernment about what you should say, if anything. Sometimes silence is best, and other times a loving confrontation will create more peace. Ask God to show you His will. Then, trust Him to guide you.
You can have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas—even when you have to deal with difficult family members! Don’t let the devil rob you of these special times. Practice these tried-and-true tips from the Bible, and let God’s love shine through you this holiday season!
Learn how to set relationships right in your life in this video with Kellie Copeland: