[Updated from original posting on November 25, 2016]
The holiday season is the busiest travel time in the United States, when far-flung family members unite to get re-acquainted, catch up, reminisce, eat, and celebrate faith and traditions.
Since few extended family members share the same viewpoint on every subject, these gatherings can lead to tensions as conflicting opinions are aired during the festivities.
Prior to Thanksgiving in the past few years, articles and commentaries have been published suggesting ways to persuade family members to your own point of view. In our family, we prefer to skirt around known areas of contention and concentrate on our common bonds of love and history to preserve family harmony.
The family of God has these same issues to deal with, and not just at holiday times. Whether between denominations or within them, you will find any number of theological disagreements, often leading to an attitude of competition or animosity between churches or even members of the same congregation.
We can choose to try to persuade those Christians who interpret the Bible differently than we do, or we can keep our relationships harmonious by remembering we are the same family. Our political or social attitudes fade into insignificance when we remember Who is the head of our family and what He has done for us.
Surely we have more than enough family stories to share and reminisce about and more than enough points of agreement to provide loving conversations with one another.
Our shared history and the love of Jesus must be at the center of all our dealings within the family. Everything else is just a distraction.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.Romans 12:10 (NIV)