The Tragedy of Family Feuds

June 4, 2015

                              The Tragedy of Family Feuds

Frank doesn’t speak to his brother Bill.  Charlie and Susan don’t speak to their sister Gloria.  Families are often divided because they disagree about something.  It may be that they can scarcely remember how the disagreement started, but over time the rift between them deepened.  Sometimes it is between siblings.  At other times it is even between parents and children.  It is always a disgrace and a tragedy when families are divided.

God, in his word, doesn’t give his approval of family feuds.  We read of them in the Bible.  One example is found in Numbers 12:1-16.  We read that Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman.  It may be that Moses could have made a better choice of a marriage partner, but Aaron and Miriam didn’t handle the situation in the right way.    They went on to question whether Moses was God’s only spokesperson.  God spoke to them about it, but they refused to change their attitude toward Moses.  The result was that God Judged Miriam with the dreaded disease of leprosy.  Moses pleaded with God on her behalf and after seven days she was healed.  The progress of God’s people was hindered for those seven days while Miriam was shut out of the camp.

The New Testament emphasizes the importance of brotherly love. Romans 12:9-10 says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.   Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.”

Reconciliation is the solution for a family feud.  Reconciliation is something that God requires of us.  In Matthew 5:23-24  Jesus tells us, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;   Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” It appears as though, for God, our being reconciled to an offended brother is more pleasing to him than any monetary gift we offer to him.

When there is a family feud, someone in the family needs to take upon himself the ministry of reconciliation.  II Corinthians 5:18 speaks of that.  “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”  In the context, it has to do with reconciling men with God, but there is also a time when we need to reconcile men with men.  The one who takes upon himself the ministry of reconciliation in a family feud may or may not be involved in the feud.  It is best that he or she be a part of the family.  It needs to be done with tact and kindness.  The factions need to be encouraged to be forgiving.  It is almost certain that wrong has been done, perhaps on the part of both factions.  Wrongs need to be forgiven.  It is a congenial and beautiful thing to see families gather together on special occasions and enjoy one another’s company.

If there is a feud in your family, you don’t need to be a part of it.  If you can’t make reconciliation, just be cordial to both sides in the faction and kindly refuse to listen to evil spoken of.  Ephesians 4:32 says “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

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