Being stuck at home obviously presents relational challenges. What do you get when you put a household of sinners in close quarters? (It sounds like an intro to some American reality TV show) You get conflict! Increased financial pressures plus frustrations related to Covid-19 plus differences of opinion in making decisions related to Covid-19 plus increased time with fellow redeemed sinners (family members) is a recipe for conflict. Our circumstances have changed, but our tendency to sin against one another remains with us – a constant battle. Interestingly, the unbelieving world — though they don’t use the language of ‘sin’ — recognizes the potential for conflict, especially marital conflict. Consider the following headlines:
Coronavirus is making couples sick – of each other
Surge in divorces anticipated in wake of COVID-19 quarantine
During this time, it’s especially important to do what God, through the Apostle Paul, tells those who have been redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ to do: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
It is hardest to love those closest to us. We see their faults most clearly and we see their faults more frequently than others do. We’d do well to constantly remind ourselves that “I am the biggest sinner I know in my family” and that God has, in spite of me, chosen me in Christ, set me apart in Christ, and loved me in Christ and forgiven me in Christ – again, all in spite of me. It’s as we remember how God has treated us that we’ll start to, by the power of the Spirit, treat our families in a godly way. And a big part of that is forgiving one another.
You will irritate and sin against your family members. They will do the same to you. So let’s learn by practice to live lives worthy of the gospel. Husbands / fathers, may the Lord who’s forgiven us, help us take the lead in saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me” and in saying “I forgive you” when we’re wronged.