Family Dynamics

— Dana

This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about “Family Dynamics” and how some habits die hard. When my family gets together, we somehow go back to 1994 and resume all status and positions when I was 12 years old. I really wish we could act our current ages…especially since we’re adults now. Usually, it’s just silly banter and fun inside jokes, but then there’s the few times where we are not very encouraging to one another.

In all honestly, my family is amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. However, sometimes when we are sharing our hearts with one another, someone pigeon-holes another and acts like that person has not changed. I am not the same person I was last year…or 5 years ago  for that matter…and it breaks my heart that we can’t just let each other be different. I am very aware of the areas that I have failed and where I need to change. It is just hard to hear from a family member that I’m still failing in a particular area…even when I know I have made some amazing adjustments and have grown in leaps and bounds because of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

And then it just hit me…Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, knows EXACTLY how I feel. In His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus couldn’t even perform miracles or teach in the Synagogue without people giving him a hard time and questioning what He was doing. Yah…even Jesus had his own set of family dynamics to deal with.

“Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.” Mark 6:1-6

Jesus was amazed by their unbelief. He can currently sympathize with me.

I am on a mission to recognize change in other people’s life…especially the amazing changes that the Holy Spirit is doing in and through people (even if it’s a little change). What would the world look like if we did that for each other…instead of treating others like they were when we last saw them or how they acted 10 years ago? What would that look like in our immediate family? How about in our church?

“While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved [John] standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.” John 19:24-27

Because Jesus understands the importance of family, He helps us see that our family extends beyond the boundaries of birth and genealogy. By telling John to accept Mary as his own mother, Jesus is calling each one of us to love those in our family that we were born into…and also those people that are in our church…our “brothers and sisters in Christ”. The last year, I have been a witness to what a close group of people can do to one another. At times there is amazing intimacy and growth…and other moments have some very awkward family dynamics going on. We rub each other the wrong way and push each others buttons. Jesus calls us to love…and I think we all have a hard time understanding exactly what He means by that.