Dreading the Holiday Family Get-Together Because of Relatives You Can’t Stand
by Sherri Bergmann
Does thinking about being in the same room with certain relatives make you chew your nails to the quick weeks before the family Christmas gathering?
There’s “Volcano” Uncle Victor who erupts without warning and spews lava of contentious words that scald all in his path. Critical Cousin Chris enjoys trying to make you feel insignificant. Acidic Aunt Rachel is controlling and manipulative. Rude Grandpa Ralph is disrespectful and insulting. Alcoholic Arthur can’t control himself after a few drinks and the celebration stops when he gets started.
A mixture of difficult people, or just one, can turn a Christmas celebration into a nightmare. Pastor Phil has three recommendations to prepare for a Christmas with difficult people.
1. Pray well in advance about the event and the person(s) you are concerned about.
2. Love them.
3. Pray to see them as God sees them.
If you are the host, he also advises to connect with them ahead of time and be frank, in a very loving way. Let them know you would love to have them there so long as they don’t explode, drink, insult – whatever it is that harms others – so everyone can have a good time.
However, if they come and break their promise, take a biblical approach to ending the harm.
Biblical Wisdom for Dealing with the Difficult Ones
1. Lovingly install a “three strikes and they’re out” guideline. While it may hurt to have to tell a difficult person to leave, it may be necessary for a peaceful holiday.
“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, know that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” Titus 3:10 (ESV).
“Drive out the mocker, and out goes...