The Power of Unity in a world full of Broken Families
I recently had my students take three minutes to come up with as many questions as could about family. Most of the questions dealt with the hardship, pain, and disunity within families. As I analyzed a lot of these, I am led to ask another question. How often do we debrief as a family and hash out the good, the hard, and the ugly things? How often do we take the time to redirect in order to bring unity and direction as a family?
How do you keep family close now a days when everything in the world tries to pull you a part? Here are my thoughts. Yes, my personal thoughts. I don’t know how to parent, I have never had a sister, but I have seen my family fail over and over, so I have some wisdom to share.
While I was on the race, we had team debriefs every two months. We became family. It was directed in a way that broke down the flaws in my immediate family and gave me the ability to surrender my pride and selfishness and grasp the power of forgiveness and grace. So, what does that practically look like?
Well, it looks like sitting down on the couch with your family with no time barrier. Everyone get the opportunity to share how they are doing – what they think, feel, what’s good and what’s hard. As everyone intentionally listens, not to cretic or interject but simply to understand the leader (Father/Mother) can facilitate the conversation for more depth and to hash out the problems amidst the family.
Many times, this feels uncomfortable especially if there is conflict in the room, which there often is. However, if you never embrace the conflict and the problems then the disunity that takes place becomes like a wedge to drive you apart and to keep your relationships shallow. The Bible says in Ephesians 4 of how be unified and it starts with “always being humble and gentle, being patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Eph. 4:2)” However, when there is a lack of humility and a sense of pride that takes place, the conversation starts to look like blame and pointing fingers. The key to these conversations is ownership and personal reflection – its part of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Families can be so hard, especially without parents who don’t know how to lead or direct these conversations. However, there is grace for them too. Know that in the hard is where the most growth and love is developed. Trails bring about the genuineness of faith and I believe the same is true with family.
When I was 16 my family finally sat down and had a debrief. By the end of the open, honest and real conversation, my whole family was balling all around the table. It was this deep realization that we had hurt each other in so many ways and we were holding unforgiveness and bitterness because of it. From that one moment it changed my perspective on the importance of creating the space to make that happen. I don’t know if my family has had a heart to heart like that since, especially now because everyone is out of the house. However, what an impact it can have when we are free to be and workout the problems in order to grasp more harmony within the family.
In conclusion, maybe its time to debrief. Start a new tradition. Have a conversation that is not bound by time. Listen to each other, humbly correct and encourage each other. Enjoy the fellowship and strive for unity in the body. “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all and living through all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).