Picture this scene.
It's Thanksgiving Day.
The table has been set with grandma's fine china. It's pretty and white detailed with a gold trim and tiny blue flowers.
The turkey has been carved.
The family members pose just before the blessing is said for a Norman Rockwell portrait.
The blessing is prayed.
The partaking of the Thanksgiving meal begins.
And then it happens–Uncle Obnoxious begins his usual antics of getting securely under your skin with his big mouth. His opinionated views on politics, religion, today's youth, the preacher, and even how the turkey was carved flow out of his mouth as freely as water coming out of the kitchen faucet. It goes on and on and doesn't stop until someone turns him off. His very presence begins to gnaw at you, and you pray under your breath, "Lord, why did I ever decide to come to this family gathering!"
Sound familiar to you? Suffice it to say, most of us have an Uncle Obnoxious or someone in our family who just sort of rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps some of you are already thinking of ways to respectfully decline this year's Thanksgiving invitation, knowing he/she will be there.
Wait! Before you decline, may I offer you a ray of hope from my own experience? You see, people like Uncle Obnoxious used to make me cringe. In fact, I thought that I was called into the world to give "Help Tips" to my closest relatives and friends that would assist them in seeing things more positively. And Lord knows those legalistic people who only see things as either black or white definitely needed my assistance in helping them balance the truth.
Hogwash. The real truth of the matter was I was trying to mold them into what I wanted them to be, especially if I were going to have to deal with them on a regular basis. The bottom line was, instead of my help tips helping them, I was causing division.
The spiritual light bulb revelation that "changed me" instead of me trying to change others came as I listened to my mentor, the late Melba Bekeheimer, teach from Romans 15:7.
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (NIV)
My spiritual light bulbs really went off when Melba asked, "Did God say if you get rid of all the moles, then I will accept you? Did God wait for you to get perfect before accepting you?" (Ugh!)
She continued by explaining that there is a big difference in accepting and approving. We sometimes think that we have to approve someone in order to accept him/her, and that's not true. We have to accept a lot of things in life, but we don't have to approve them. We are all going to have different opinions, temperaments, and personalities. These different types of people don't have to be our bosom buddies (even relatives), but we do have to accept them.
This new concept and revelation, not only brought emotional and spiritual healing to my heart, but paved the way for me to deal with all the, shall we respectfully call them "sandpaper," people in my life.
And so it was. I sat down with a pen and paper and begin to write out all those things that had gotten under my skin about a few people. I then decided that it was time to throw the list in the garbage can. I made a conscientious decision that I would now accept them just the way they are and allow their creator to make the necessary changes in their lives if need be.
Believe me, I am no longer stressed out around those people who used to make me cringe just to be in the same room with them. Well, not much anyway. A healing came into my life when I accepted them, as well as when I forgave them for times that their words had hurt me. And yes, some of them I had to ask to forgive me for trying to mold them into my image. Why did I even think that was okay?
It is a good feeling knowing I don't have to straighten people out for their journey through life anymore. I also walk with a confidence knowing who I am in Christ and prayerfully function as an ambassador for Him.
And with that, I encourage you to start preparing your heart this Thanksgiving to meet up with Uncle Obnoxious. Make a decision to love him unconditionally, warts, moles, and all–just like Christ loves and accepts you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us at Created Woman!