Dealing with Difficult Relatives This Holiday Season | Sojourners

Dealing with Difficult Relatives This Holiday Season

Should we burn bridges with “those” family members?
Two rows of four faces are overlaid on geometric backgrounds; illustrated faces are white, orange, medium-brown, and dark brown. Background includes lines and blocks of green, shades of blue, pink, and other bright geometric shapes.
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FOR MANY OF US, the approaching holiday season brings a mix of excitement and dread. We look forward to gathering with loved ones we haven’t seen for a while. But these gatherings come with land mines of casually dropped remarks that belie our togetherness. They reveal deep chasms between our understandings of what is good for ourselves, this country, and the world.

Do we respond when a family member says something offensive? Do we ignore them? Do we try to engage, even if past attempts have proven fruitless?

My own attempts to engage with family who have different political views and interpretations of scripture have come to an impasse in the past year. I’ve felt wounded and disappointed and am lowering my expectations for these relationships. But the Spirit is also nudging me to keep my heart open a crack.

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