We’ve discussed many times in discipleship group (the one in which I participate, not the one I lead) that families are known to bring out the worst in people- and that this is, as we see it, largely a misnomer.
As best we can discern, in our lives, family doesn’t bring out the worst- it brings out the TRUTH. Let me ‘splain:
Around my family, I don’t feel like I need to be on my best behavior. I don’t often worry “Oh no, will this seem rude?” Because, sinfully, I assume that they know me, they’ll give me grace, they have to love me, aren’t they supposed to love me? etc, etc, etc, words, words, words, (sin, sin,sin)
The point being that when I am short with, or inconsiderate of my family, I almost always try to rationalize that they aren’t as nice to me as other people are (true- but not an excuse) or that they should understand (uh- not true. Why expect more of them than any other person). I blame my sin on the actions of others who I expect to act in accordance with my preference simply because they’ve known me for a while. I think people tend to have this mentality about siginificant others, best friends, and spouses after long enough. Those closest to me, I tend to treat the least considerately, thinking “Oh, they know me, they’ll understand.” And that’s not “the worst” in me- it’s just who I am when everything isn’t going my way- a sinful little wretch who God chose and loved and called his own completely outside of my will or actions.
This all comes to mind because of a facebook photo album I made five years ago with the photos from a (literally) traumatic trip to Tennessee. It was only recently viewed by family members, and only yesterday caused quite a stir with two of them. Apparently, (not surprisingly) they DON’T know me better than everyone else. Of course, because I don’t actually invest that much time in them.I love them, and I am not fake around them, but they don’t get to see my in my everyday activities.
Even my dad, who I call more than anyone else, who I now make a priority to visit once or twice a year, really doesn’t know me very well. He loves me, but we never get to just hang out, him seeing me with my friends or work or element.
So it’s not surprising that satire and humor, stories and quips with which the album was heavy- laden make more sense to my friends than they do my family. So what can i do? Do I cling to my self-expression, leaving the album up and ignoring the concerns? Do I bow to what I honestly feel is unjust criticism?
I don’t know if it’s right, but I choose this: I deleted the album (there was nothing so gospel centered that I found it essential to keep, and if it’s not building up then why care?) and messaged a quick but sincere apology and thanks for the concern. Because, even if they are wrong, I’m grateful they would bring it up, and give me a chance to correct an error rather than silently condemn me for it.
I just asked myself- how can I best love and obey God in this? What is most beneficial for the sharing of the gospel, and how can I take this opportunity and let what my family gives me bring out the best in me?
If you have ways you think I could have been more gospel centered, or stories to share, I’d love any contributions.