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A Cup with Your Family

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

My new daughter-in-law to be told my son and I that she really doesn’t ever need to have a Chai Latte, but likes one occasionally. She doesn’t drink coffee at all and this statement made my son and I just look at her like she had three heads. Of course, we both need coffee in the morning, well, throughout the morning, and in the afternoon and in the evening. I actually love that when my son comes over, no matter the time of day, and I ask him if he wants some coffee, his answer is, “Oh, yessss!” I hope you can hear the tone in that answer. It’s the same one I have when I am asked that question. (That's him in the picture drinking coffee at lunch.)

This weekend I was able to spend three glorious days with my son and his family of five. What an amazing treat that was. I got them all to myself. Well, my husband was there, too. I can’t even begin to explain the joy I have when I am with my family. This brood fills my heart with so much joy. We laugh at how annoying the kids are. We have meaningful walks and talks. We notice when the other is tired and annoyed. We take pictures, eat good food, watch kids play, laugh and dance.

Family. Such a complex word. The number one definition from the Oxford dictionary says a family is a group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit. I think it that definition might be a little outdated. I much rather prefer the characteristics of a family given by the American Academy of Pediatrics which says, “Some include: support; love and caring for other family members; providing security and a sense of belonging; open communication; making each person within the family feel important, valued, respected and esteemed. [1] The words used in this definition are so important and can be seen in the Bible as well. Even though there is no family or parenting guideline in the Bible, God speaks so much about family in his Word. “In Scripture we find families built with love and goodness and families formed from rape and sin. Children born from one father to mothers who were sisters. Children born out of adultery, through prostitution, and into polygamous marriages. Children born to people of humble means and then relinquished through adoption to rulers and royals. And because respect didn’t come naturally to His people, God had to tell them to honor their parents.”[2] God speaks to us about families and children and parenting in all of his teachings, really. We can glean exactly how to have a good marriage, treat our children and raise them well, and how to behave as a family if we just read any of the Gospels. Anytime Jesus taught something to the people or his disciples, he was speaking to us and each of these teachings can be used in our families. In His Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew chapters 5, 6, & 7 he teaches thousands about humility, loving your enemy, love, and forgiveness. If you compare just these topics to the characteristics listed above, they are mighty similar.

As much fun as I have with my family, it is not to say that it is perfect. Broken families are the norm and not just in this day in age. They always have been. We are broken people and God depends on our brokenness for us to look to him to help our families. He wants us to bring our families to Him in prayer, petition and to represent them when they do not know him. One of the most difficult things I have found when it comes to families and their brokenness is forgiveness. Forgiveness is never easy. It has not been easy in my family either, but has been something that we have worked on a lot. It will always be something we have to work on. Because we are human, we feel hurt and pain and when this comes from a family member, the pain is even more difficult to endure and forgive. We have such a greater investment in our family members than we do in other relationships. We experience so many things with family members, more than we do with any other relationship, so when the hurt happens it becomes so much more difficult to forgive. If you are living in a family who is under God’s authority or if you are the only one in that family surrendering to God, it is important to remember Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” This is what is being asked of us, so that our lives can remain free in Christ. Then there is 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, “Anyone you forgive, I do too. For what I have forgiven — if I have forgiven anything — it is for your benefit in the presence of Christ, so that we may not be taken advantage of by Satan. For we are not ignorant of his schemes.” Forgiveness keeps the devil at bay, keeps him away from our families. Forgiveness in a family builds positive family functions. This could take time, obviously, especially if you come from or are in a family that is not used to forgiving. But, the act of forgiving can only begin to improve a family's situation. Forgiving, though, is not giving permission. Be sure that if you are in a situation of substance abuse, or physical or verbal abuse, that you seek support in these areas for you and your family. Of course, forgiveness in these areas are crucial for all involved. There is a chance, depending on the situation, that the forgiveness you are putting out will not be accepted, and that is the right of each individual. You may be asked to accept forgiveness at some point and may not be in a position to accept it at the time, that is your right as well. The thing to remember is that when you offer forgiveness, you offer it with no strings attached. When Jesus forgives your sins, He has removed the sin as far from us as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) No strings attached. In forgiveness, we must have grace for ourselves, especially when this doesn’t come easy. This is a time to go to God, read his Word and ask the Holy Spirit to help you move toward forgiveness or acceptance of forgiveness. His grace is sufficient to help you make such a huge change in order to live a life that is not full of the grief that a family can bring, and will allow you to move forward toward a life and a family that is less broken under God’s great love. When it comes to forgiving your family members or forgiving yourself within your unique family relationships, remember that you will never be able to please everyone. You will never be able to be everything to everyone, you will not be able to meet everyone’s needs. While you are in the middle of your forgiveness journey, you must take in God’s grace for you and have grace for yourself and your family members. Seek God and ask him what your ultimate limitations are when it comes to reconstructing, rebuilding, reestablishing your family. Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now trying to persuade people or God? Or, am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (CSB) Don’t continue to try and please your family, try to please God. Develop a realistic estimate of your abilities and stick to them. Build boundaries for yourself and your family members in this process. And, above all, draw closer and closer to God for his continued support.

Forgiveness, in my eyes, is the only way to begin to have a family that is not broken. Forgiveness, on a daily basis, is the way we move our family towards a happy, God-filled life in which we can life with hope and joy. The hope and joy that is only given through the grace of God, who asks us to forgive.

Where do you start? Grab your hot coffee, maybe, like mine, it has a little vanilla cream in it, and make a list. Talk to God about forgiveness you have not accepted, forgiveness you need to give, family members you need to visit and talk with. While you are at it, talk to Him about receiving the strength you need to forgive, and the grace to give yourself when it is difficult and doesn’t come easy. Forgiveness is a key to your happiness. Offer to take your family member to coffee. Start there…. Coffee and forgiveness can change the world.

[1] (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015)

[1] (Morgan)

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2015, Nov 21). Caring for your School Aged Child Ages: 5-12. Itasca, Illinois, USA: Healthy

Morgan, E. (n.d.). Faithgateway. Retrieved from God's Broken Family:

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