If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18).
A question was asked of me about my blog from yesterday where I mentioned the importance of choosing close associations wisely. The question was what do you do if the ones who challenge you to do wrong things are family members?
I live by the above verse. We have so many varied relationships in life and our responsibilities vary from relationship to relationship. Here is the bottom line. I cannot make choices for other people. I must make choices for myself and live by them. I am not responsible for the actions of another, but I am responsible for how I deal with their actions and choices.
When it comes to family members or relatives, I must learn to relate to them and be as real as possible, understanding that others’ choices may prohibit closeness in the relationship. It’s just like our relationship with the Lord. He loves us all the same, but our choices can leave Him at arm’s distance. And with family, I must learn not to be pushy and demanding. I must learn how to sense what kind of relationship the individual will allow me to have with them and start there without pressuring them. That’s easier said than done, but let love be the guiding factor.
If the family member seeks to entice me into doing, saying, or acting in a way that for me as a believer is wrong, I must then take my stand, and agree to disagree with them. I must be clear with others when they try to violate my personal boundaries and let them know that I won’t be involved in that particular thing. And if necessary, I put physical distance between me and the person. Those that seek to push their wants and desires on you are wrong, and it is fair and loving to gently yet firmly let them know that you just won’t go there.
Here’s a great word from Romans 15:1-3 – Amplified:
We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]. For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written, The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me.