Chaplain Allen Tanner
You’ve heard the expression, “Time heals all wounds,” haven’t you?
Well, I think that’s a bunch of bologna.
In fact, I think time can really make things worse – particularly when you’ve been wounded by a family member or close friend, and now you’ve got to sit across from each other during a “joyous” holiday meal!
That’s why I want to tell you about two of the biggest mistakes we often make at holiday get-togethers with family and friends. If you avoid these common traps, your holidays can become a time of joyful fellowship with your loved ones…
MISTAKE #1: REACTING WITHOUT TRYING TO UNDERSTAND
Too often, we pay so much attention to others’ words that we forget there are emotions behind them. People say stuff when they’re angry that they don’t really mean. They use words they didn’t intend to use.
So it’s important to look at the emotions behind the words — because while people don’t always say what they mean, they always feel what they feel.
Avoiding this mistake requires that we think about how the other person feels. The truth is, unkind people are those who need your understanding the most. When people are rude or uncaring, they are screaming to the world, “I’m in pain!”
Hurt people hurt people. Keep this in mind so you don’t stumble into the next common relationship trap…
MISTAKE #2: INVALIDATING THE FEELINGS OF OTHERS
This is when you think another person’s feelings are dumb, irrational, or illogical because you don’t share those emotions. Let me ask you this: Can one person be cold and another be warm at the same time?
Of course! So why try to argue people out of what they feel?
When we dismiss someone else’s feelings because we don’t feel the same way, we’re actually belittling that person. Feelings are neither right nor wrong.
Don’t make others defend their feelings. Just say, “I’m listening.”
Maybe you’re thinking, “Ouch, I’ve made both of these mistakes!” I want you to know that you’re not alone, and I want you to be encouraged because all of your relationships will be improved by putting biblical wisdom into practice.
The Bible says, The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere (James 3:17 NIV).
Let these character traits shine through you so that others can see Jesus in your life and have a happy not stressful holiday season!