“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love, than fattened calf with hatred.” – Proverbs 15:17 (NIV).
The current Covid-19 situation has disrupted and impacted our lives deeply. When the circuit breaker measures were introduced, many families found themselves having to adjust to a new lifestyle of having to manage work and home responsibilities simultaneously on a daily basis. Parents were juggling between work, managing their children’s home-based learning, and preparation of meals. Families with older children may find the home suddenly ‘crowded’, and because we are together 24/7, we may find our personal spaces being encroached upon.
Nonetheless, the stay-home measures have a silver lining: it is bringing families together. In our busyness, we often overlook the needs of our families. Every family has its own set of challenges and undercurrents of fractured relationships between siblings, parents and spouses. God cares deeply for the institutions of marriage and family, and is using this time to rebuild and redeem families. How can we be a part of God’s restorative work? Let me share my thoughts using the acronym F.A.M.I.L.Y.
Fights. All families have their fair share of fights and quarrels, which can either bring us closer or make us bitter. Use this extended time together to work through pain and hurts, so that these relationships can be reconciled and redeemed.
Acceptance. With our families, we can truly be ourselves, without pretense or the need to impress each other. God, in His sovereignty, has placed all of us together under one roof. We must learn to appreciate the uniqueness and accept weaknesses in one another (parents included).
Maturity. Growth and maturity take time. Some people take longer to learn from their mistakes. Let us encourage one another to develop a deeper relationship with God through reading His Word, communing with Him, and trusting that He is constantly working in our lives to change us for the better.
Interaction. “Stay-home” means eating three meals a day as a family. We can no longer avoid one another. With more time together, we hope our conversations can move from awkward to superficial to deep. This is a great time to bond over watching your favourite Netflix movies or playing boardgames together too!
Love one another. Sometimes it is hard to love our own family members. We may have been hurt or disappointed by their poor choices in life, sibling rivalries or personality differences. Let us pray for gradual reconciliation and healing of these relationships, for they stay with us through the generations. Turn the cold war into compassion for one another. Let us love one another, and in doing so, model for our next generations what it means to be united as a family.
You. When we take our family for granted and live with a sense of entitlement, we become distant from them and strain our relationships with them. However, when we consciously seek ways to serve, honour and bless one another, we experience much joy as a family (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Philippians 2:4).
Regardless of status, our families are our priority. There is a deep longing in each of us to be part of a family. No matter what your family situation is, let the Holy Spirit lead you in taking the first step to restore and strengthen your family relationship this season.
“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” – Proverbs 17:1 (NIV)
Lam Kok Hiang has over 30 years of experience in full-time Christian vocational ministry. He holds a MA (Biblical Studies) from Dallas Theological Seminary and has led Cru Singapore as National Team Leader since 2006. An avid runner, Kok Hiang shares a love for books with his wife, Sharon. Together, their desire is to see young leaders rise up in local churches and missions agencies across Asia.
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