Home - it's the place most of us end up during the holidays.
Home is one of those words with the most diverse interpretation. For some, home is the ultimate comfort, a welcome respite from the everyday. To others, it's a space filled with laughter and sentimentality, but for most of us it's a gathering of people we spend the majority of the year trying to avoid, in particular, that one person.
You know who I'm talking about - you may have already clenched your jaw just thinking about his or her name.
For some of us home bears, at least in part, a repulsive connotation: It's the place of the unwanted interaction with that one person. You won't find that definition neatly embroidered on a throw pillow.
If you are like me, you'll spend a good deal of your time traveling to the location of this unwanted interaction, coming up with scenarios in which you best this person or at least finally tell them how you feel about slightly racist jokes or their condescending manner. In this fabricated fantasy, you'll execute the finishing blow in the conversation with a carefully constructed quip that will leave them reeling and the nearby witnesses praising your wit and intellect. Victory will be sweeter than the store-bought cookies that someone put on the dessert table.
If experience in similar situations has taught us anything it's that all preparations rarely work out like we want them to. Even if we were to perfectly deploy our rehearsed imprecatory dialogue, it would do little to improve the relationship. We'd only foster the animosity we harbor for that person.
Jesus used a variety of devices when he interacted with difficult people, depending on the specifications of each circumstance. With some, he stayed silent (John 8), and others, he answered by directing them to Scripture (Mark 10). He was alleviating the situation in a way that brought honor to God.
This idea may seem wholly unsatisfying to those of us who want to put that person in their place this holiday season, but ask yourself this question: Is your goal this year personal vindication or to celebrate the grace given to us by our Heavenly Father?
During his ministry, Jesus gave us the following challenge, one that speaks to our upcoming dealings with that difficult person.
"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28, NIV)
You'll find your holidays are teeming with opportunities to glorify God in your conversations.
Email Jamie H. Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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