Dealing with Difficult Relatives
by Max Lucado
Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes, there is.
It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a difficult family. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’.
“His family … went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).
Jesus’ siblings thought their brother was a lunatic. They weren’t proud—they were embarrassed!
It’s worth noting that he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.
Each of us has a fantasy that our family will be like the Waltons, an expectation that our dearest friends will be our next of kin. Jesus didn’t have that expectation. Look how he defined his family: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35).
When Jesus’ brothers didn’t share his convictions, he didn’t try to force them. He recognized that his spiritual family could provide what his physical family didn’t. If Jesus himself couldn’t force his family to share his convictions, what makes you think you can force yours?
Having your family’s approval is desirable but not necessary for happiness and not always possible. Jesus did not let the difficult dynamic of his family overshadow his call from God. And because he didn’t, this chapter has a happy ending.
What happened to Jesus’ family?
Mine with me a golden nugget hidden in a vein of the Book of Acts. “Then [the disciples] went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.… They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers” (Acts 1:12, 14, emphasis added).
What a change! The ones who mocked him now worship him. The ones who pitied him now pray for him. What if Jesus had disowned them? Or worse still, what if he’d suffocated his family with his demand for change?
He didn’t. He instead gave them space, time, and grace. And because he did, they changed. How much did they change? One brother became an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and others became missionaries (1 Cor. 9:5).
So don’t lose heart. God still changes families.
From He Still Moves Stones
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado