Are there privileges that come with being someone’s relative when it comes to their offensive behavior or personality?
Someone told me that just because you may reach out to have a closer relationship with someone who is your family member, does not mean that person is obligated to take you up on it. Much like friendships that you choose to create and develop, you have to be conscious about maintaining your relationship with someone (if you want to keep them as close as you once were). My question is, do we give family members carte blanche over other relationships, to behave in certain ways and let it go or make excuses, just because they’re family?
No one can hurt you like family. An offense from a close family member or a close friend who is like family has potential to cripple you mentally and spiritually if you’re not careful. I’ve been on both sides of the offense coin, so I know. Forgiveness is not optional according to Matthew 18 and Matthew 5:23-25. And we are called to live in peace according to Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14. But how do you balance the issues of forgiveness with keeping the peace?
Do you let things slide or excuse behavior because someone happens to be related to you? Would you tolerate that same behavior from a non-relative? I’m not talking about spouses– that’s another realm altogether. Do you just try to keep a healthy distance (avoidance)? When do you decide enough is enough and give up the boundaries to just cut off the person completely? Do ever rationalize and say you can’t do that because “That’s my cousin/sister/mother/father.”
And what if a new offense from the same old person brings up memories of past offenses that you THOUGHT you forgave?
When I talk to people about situations like this, I often get comments such as:
“I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t say anything because that’s your family.”
“You should lighten up. You’re too sensitive.”
“You let people get to you too much.”
Stuff like this can sometimes seem as though the person is belittling my feelings. So my next question is, what is the criteria for when to care? There is no sin in being angry, the sin may come in what you DO while you’re angry. Is there anything worth feeling angry about? If something is not fair, rude, hypocritical, or hurtful when unprovoked, I can get mad about it. Does that make me sensitive? I hope so– I don’t ever want to become insensitive to these types of things. I’d be waiting a long time if I wait for someone else to stand up for me, so I stand up for myself. If you’re a laid-back person who never gets mad about anything, please share your methods– I would love to hear your comments.
As you can see, this is not a blog where I give my testimony. This is a blog where I am asking you to give yours. I’m still working on it. I’ve got a lot of things I’m trying to accomplish and I don’t want the same old stuff holding me back.