Q. My question centers on a Christian’s responsibility to his/her family during family functions. I am the only saved one in my family. When I attend holidays and family functions, it is uncomfortable for me because there are untoward things going on, such as swearing, drinking, gossiping, and occasionally light gambling. I try to ignore it but it’s difficult. What would you recommend if you were in my shoes? If I don’t attend the functions at all, then I risk offending the family. When I do go, I’m uncomfortable. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
A. Sounds like your family is a lot like the folks Jesus was around through most of his ministry. He was able to love them without condoning their lifestyle, and His love for them often moved their hearts.
“Hate the sin but love the sinner,” we’re told. It’s easier said than done, especially with family, but think of how hard it must have been for Him. Luke 19:10 tells us He came seek and save those who are lost. He knew He was going to die for all of them, but He also knew that some would accept Him as their Savior while others wouldn’t. Even so, He was never legalistic, never hypocritical, never condescending, and always loving.
You’re the body of Christ in your family, so you have a unique opportunity. When he wants to hug them, He uses your arms. When He wants to tell them He loves them, He uses your voice. And when they misbehave, you’re the one who has to say, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” If you can do that, maybe someday soon you won’t be the only one in your family any more.