“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  1 Timothy 5:8

Why is it that we can be tolerant of our friends quirks, yet be so easily annoyed with family members? We set the bar so high, expecting family to be perfect. When I drove across the US on my three month pilgrimage, I was able to stop and spend time with my parents on their farm in Georgia. While I was there, God gave me the gift of seeing my parents in a new light. All of my childhood resentments and expectations of them melted away. I didn’t see them as “mom” or “dad”, I saw them as God’s children, part of God’s family. It was an amazing thing to have happen. My heart and soul felt incredibly light and full, the love I felt for them was so deep and wide, it was almost too much!

When we negatively judge a family member, we are playing God. We are allowing our egos to step in and be in charge, instead of God. We can’t control people, places or things. They belong to God, not to us. When we let go and let God, we can have more compassion for our family members (and friends, co-workers, and strangers). We don’t know all of the events that have taken place in others that have shaped them to be who they are. Nor do we know the trials and tribulations they have privately wrestled with. What we do know, is that they are doing their best. Now, you might bristle reading those words and argue, “No!” They aren’t doing their best, they could do better!” In your opinion, they could. But in their life, they are doing their best. We all are. None of us wake up and think, “I’m going to make bad decisions today.” We wake up and do our best.

One of the best gifts you can give your family members is to remove them from the pedestal you want them to reside on. See them as human beings, fallible, just as you are. See them as God’s children, called into existence for a reason and a purpose. God loves them unconditionally. You can strive to do so as well. Stop expecting your family members to be what you want them to be. Allow them to be who they are, where they are on their own journey in life.

Having a family is a gift. Treasure yours, no matter how quirky or annoying. See in them what God sees in them.

F.R.O.G. Practice: Look at a family member that annoys you through God’s eyes. See their value, their worth as a child of God. Let go of your expectations of them, and allow them to be who they are. Love them for that.