Thanksgiving and Christmas can often be times of hurt, resentment and loneliness. They can bring pleasant or unpleasant memories. My prayer for you, my readers, is that you will make every effort to be a “peace maker” during this time. “Blessed are the peace makers; for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matt 5:9)

Maybe it’s time to let go of grievances in your family. Maybe the Lord has called you to reach out to family members who have wronged you. Maybe they have said things or done things that have hurt you. Words that have been loosed in frustration, confusion and anger are now a reason for regret on your part. We are all vulnerable to these situations. What we each long for is to be loved, accepted and treated with dignity.

I experienced this vividly in my own heart recently. Cathi and I have 5 grandchildren that we love dearly. She is blessed to have 3 of them in our home most Tuesdays. Recently I brought Wendy’s food to our house for them to eat at lunch. As I was leaving, one of them cried out; “I want to give Papa a kiss!” I looked back into those loving, longing eyes and turned around and smothered her with kisses! I was reminded out of the mouth of a babe about love expressed with affection for the one loved. In this case; Papa! And, Papa happily reciprocated with kisses. We both enjoyed the experience with great delight!

Let me encourage you to step out and go the “extra mile” to reconcile with any family member you are at odds with. Remember, “Love suffers long, is kind…does not take into account a wrong suffered…bears all things…hopes all things, endures all things.” (I Cor 13:4-7) Love must be ministered even at the expense of the possibility of being hurt in return. This is all part of demonstrating the love of Christ and “the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Phil 3:10)

You may be thinking; “How? You do not know what has happened to me. You don’t understand.” I may never understand the pain and suffering of hurt lives and the dynamics of broken relationships fully. But, I do know the root of it. “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.” (James 2:14-15)

I would like to share another truth about relationships in families. Be careful about condemning your family members. Remember the adulterous woman in John 8. The scribes and the Pharisees brought her before the Lord wanting the Mosaic Law to be carried out. “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.” (John 8:5) But Jesus, seeing her accusers unleash a spirit of condemnation, gave her grace, love, and mercy. After the accusers walked away and the woman was alone He said to her; “’Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said; ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her; ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'” (John 8:10-11)

My counsel to you is to let go of all condemnation. Examine any unforgiveness you may have against family members. Repent of your sin and ask God to give you a spirit of love, kindness and mercy for those who have wronged you. And leave the results to God. There are loved ones with longing deep down in their hearts “to give you a kiss”. I pray that it comes your way during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)