The family has gathered. The holiday meal is in the oven. The men are huddled in
the living room waiting for the football game to begin. The kids are running through the house, leaving every door behind them open. Family members are catching up on the latest life challenges of the ones they have learned to love. The smell of the holidays is officially in the air.
Then it happens, that awkward moment that every family seems to experience in these venues. In walks that one family member who changes the dynamics of
the room. He or she is the official "spoiler" of every family function. Their life is a picture of chaos.
Their life has been on the rocks since birth, and they have the marks to prove it. They have had more employment opportunities then you can count. They have blown every fresh start they have been given. Their love life is a roller coaster. They are a walking hurricane and make no apologies about it. Every person in the room has been sucked into their drama at least one time or another, and they have the scars to prove it.
Do you dare reach out your hand of support again? You can see the result of a life in turmoil, but you still see something in their eyes. You see possibility. You see what they could be. You also see a cry for help that nobody is responding to. How do we respond to these life-suckers? Do we dare even ask them how they are, because we know that could lead into potential involvement?
The truth is, most of us put our emotional arms out to keep them from getting too close, because we don't have time for the pain. We would help them if we could, but history has proven that this "spoiler" will never change. From experience, investing in their world nearly killed you. We decide the best course of action is avoidance, and then wonder why we feel guilty.
We feel the guilt because we are meant to feel it. Whenever we give up on something or someone God has not given up on, we will feel a guilty pain of discomfort.
I have been reminded of the "spoilers" God used as examples in scripture, the ones everyone had given up on. The ones who deserved the misery they were now living in. I realized that at one time in my life, I was one of them and so were you.
How should we respond to the "spoilers" in our life? First, you can commit to "Do everything in love," 1 Corinthians 16:14.
Decide ahead of time to, "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace," Ephesians 4:1-3.
However, never feel like you have to agree with
nacceptable behavior. Be purposefully faithful to "Speaking the truth in
love," Ephesians 4:15.
Also remember, that when it comes to family, be "An example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity," 1 Timothy 4:12.
The "spoilers" will see, hear and feel rejection from us unless we choose to see, feel and talk to them with the love of God.
Remember, he is the perfect example. "God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him," 1 John 4:16-17.
God never quits loving us, leading us, or believing in us. When it comes to
"spoilers," we get the opportunity to do the same. After all, they are family.
Have a great holiday season. I pray your relationships will grow because you have
Gordon Mularski is the senior pastor of Treasure Coast Community Church in Jensen Beach.
Treasure Coast Community Church meets in the Jensen Beach High School Performing Arts Center on Sundays at 10 a.m.
For more information, visit the Web site
Or call (772) 334-3999.