by Aleta Kay
Unless you're a hermit, you have relationships. Sometimes it seems family relationships are the hardest. That's because we have far stronger emotional ties to family. The stronger the emotional ties the greater possibility of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.
When I first married my husband I was young, insecure, and had a chip on each shoulder. I didn't feel that my mother loved me so I tried to become my mother-in-law's daughter. Of course it didn't work. My relationship with my mother-in-law was off to a very rocky start. How could it be otherwise? I was pregnant, moody, and afraid to clean house for fear of criticism as my mother had done. There was a lot of misunderstanding back in those days and I was afraid to talk about my feelings. Consequently I was left out of a lot of things, or at least felt that I was, and I felt like just an appendage to the family. (Things are much better now.)
Sometimes a death in the family causes squabbles among those left behind. This seems to be especially likely when one person has been a caretaker of the deceased or, because one person lives in closer proximity to parents than their siblings they seem, to the others, to be getting preferential treatment. This can cause jealousy and hard feelings.
The Bible tells us to live peacably with all men (meaning mankind). It also tells us to forgive others as we want to be forgiven. If you feel like just an appendage to the family, try to see things from someone else's perspective. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Is there something in you that turns them off? Are you always on the defensive? Do you get offended easily? I used to. Look at the situation and look for possible reasons why things happened or were done as they were. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalms 119:165--"Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them." If we love God's law then we have to trust that God allows things into our lives to help us grow so we should not be offended. Ask what you can learn from the situation. Be the first to attempt to make amends.Choose not to be offended. Choose to get past hurt feelings. Choose to be a great person to be around. Be contagiously happy.