The Secret of Family Unity

Hurt can run deep in families

Some never get over the painful words and deeds by parents, children or siblings. Here are some ways that you can help yourself and others “let it go”

Forgive Others

Unforgiveness drives deep wedges in relationships. Teens and parents move on to the next day after a blow up but like a deep splinter, these areas can get infected. Teens can think that parents “always break their promises” or “never have time for” or “only criticize.” Parents feel used or abused disrespected or attacked.

My dad would often ask me “Why do you hate me Ronald?” He had the idea that I purposely rebelled against his rules and ignored his requests. Absolutes like “always” and “never” get lodged in the heart and threaten to kill the relationship. Let them go…

Are you still holding grudges against your parents? Let them go. They are not helping your spouse or your kids. Are you holding back forgiveness from your children? Let that go too. Sometimes we need help from God and a counselor. Do whatever you can to let it go.

Offer Grace

Healing sometimes requires giving an extravagant gift of grace. It may mean being kind when you have been treated meanly with disrespect. Of course there are limits and this is not healthy in the long term but there are situations when we should offer grace instead of consequences.

A teen should recognize that they are not receiving what they deserve. They are receiving a special exception to the rule. Sometimes we just let the consequences go because of extenuating circumstances. Your teen may be exhausted and choose to ignore you. This is not okay but sometimes you let it go.

You son was dumped by his girlfriend and he is angry and short with you. Let it go. Offer grace. You are not approving of the behaviour but now is not the time to hammer him. Let it go.

Receive Grace

It is possible to resist a gift of grace and move on. Sometimes distance is easier than an upclose relationship with the potential to hurt or to be hurt again. Let the hurt go –receive grace.

We have come to believe that peace is a ceasefire but peace isn’t just the cessation of hostilities. Peace, at least the kind the Bible talks about, is that deep residing sense of trust and wellbeing. It is the kind that the bible refers to as living in unity. (Psalm 133:1)

This kind of harmony is worth the awkwardness that it will take to get there. It requires honesty, healing, risk, vulnerability, humility, acts of kindness, and intimacy for all parties. Pretty risky but the rewards are worth it.

We Can Get Past This

A mom said that the hurt caused by her son was so deep that, “I don’t think I can get past this.” Some hurts go that deep. It would be wrong for me to say “let it go.” Somethings require outside help. For other things it is great if you can let them go. Don’t hold on to hurt, give and receive grace in the moment. Forgive others and hopefully they will also forgive you.

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Ron Powell

ronpowell

Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email ron.powell@vanguardcollege.com