The family is God’s plan to bring order to the world, and yet He has placed within each family characters who rub us the wrong way.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
That’s why. And how do we get sharpened in the Christian life? By loving and forgiving.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20
“Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ ” Matthew 18: 21,22
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive…” Colossians 3:13
Many avoid their families because they say they can’t handle it. However, unless there’s a life-threatening or deliberately criminal situation everyone should stay put, because one way or another God is going to sharpen you.
Those who run away from their families soon find out that God uses strangers (and circumstances) to do His sharpening as well, which in the end proves to be more unbearable. Ask the prodigal son.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.” Luke 15:17-20
In conclusion, keep your senses, stay put, and allow God to use your family to sharpen you. Once you’ve been sharpened, the outside world and its uncomfortable grating will be more tolerable, for you would have already endured and surmounted plenty of irritating rubbing.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13