Family relationships can bring up a lot of emotions. Whether you have a great relationship with your family or whether you have strained relationships with them, every family will experience conflict at some point, and that’s okay!
We see all sorts of dysfunctional families in Scripture. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Cain killed his brother Abel. King David’s son, Absalom, tries to overthrow his dad—just to name a few examples that can help put your family drama into perspective.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells a parable about another family—a father and his two sons. He describes how the younger son demands his inheritance and runs off to live a rebellious life, leaving his family behind.
After spending all his money, the son retreats home in hopes of begging his father to hire him as a servant. When his father sees him from far off, he runs to greet him.
But enter more family drama.
When the other son—the one who has been working the fields for his father this entire time—hears that his brother has returned and is celebrated, he becomes jealous and angry. But the father kindly explains to him,
“‘... we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:32 NIV
Even if you don’t find yourself in a family that would welcome you home as warmly as the father in this parable, know that God does. He shows us a perfect parent-child relationship through His son, Jesus. And because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can have the same relationship with our heavenly Father.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 NLT
As you begin learning how to navigate your family relationships—especially if you’ve recently moved away, graduated, or started your own family—know that how you interact may change, but why you interact remains the same.
If necessary, set some boundaries and seek healing. And above all else, remember that you are a part of God’s family, and He loves you perfectly.
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us a perfect parent-child relationship between You and Jesus. Give me the strength to love my family well, knowing that You were intentional about the people You entrusted me with. Show me my next step in navigating a relationship with my family. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Challenge: What is the first word that comes to mind when you think about your family? Spend five minutes journaling to God, sharing why you picked that specific word and considering how you could invest in your family relationships.