Thanksgiving dinner is over and while I’d love to think that it went well for all of you, I know that’s not everybody’s reality. Maybe you had to deal with a problematic, cranky, or divisive relative—the kind that leaves you resolving, “NEVER AGAIN!” Or, perhaps you had some disappointing “no shows” despite the fact that they RSVP’d for the dinner and you prepared food accordingly. Now brace yourself because what I’m about to tell you may not be what you want to hear.
- First, decide that you are going to forgive them… yes, just decide. You don’t have to “feel” like it. Simply decide as an act of obedience to God who commands us to forgive (release any desire for payback) all offenses (Mark 11:26). Feelings follow actions; you will feel better knowing you have pleased the Lord.
- Next, ask God IF or WHEN you should discuss the situation with the problem person. If you decide to confront, get the facts first by asking non-accusatory questions that seek to understand. Example: “Was something going on with you on Thanksgiving that we need to talk about?” “We missed you on Thanksgiving. I figured something came up since you had indicated you were coming. Is everything all right?” (DO NOT ADD… “If you had any class you would have called!!” (lol); some people have simply not been taught social etiquette. Give ‘em mercy…)
- Finally, ask yourself what character trait God is trying to work out or develop in YOU through this situation (patience, flexibility, etc.). Every “situation” has a purpose for those of us who love God (Romans 8:28). Don’t let your frustration cause you to miss it!