Despite your best efforts,
there are times when things don’t appear to go well. You attempt to be
encouraging, but your words are received cynically. You back off from communication to ease
tensions, and you are perceived as being aloof. Whatever you do is taken to be
the opposite of what you intended. Such scenarios sometimes occur with
grandparents. Because your children's grandparents
are also your parents or parents-in-law, these tensions may have existed for
years. You believe that giving up is not an option, but that is the only
thing you are certain about. So what do you do?
principles are available about conducting relationships. You cannot control
what your parents do or say, but by God’s grace you can control what you say
and do. Don’t be discouraged, and don't give up hope. Because these principles are
biblical, they apply to any form of relational breakdown, but I believe they
are particularly helpful in dealing with grandparent issues.
James 1:19-20 — "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and
slow to become angry." Make sure that you take the time to listen and
understand a difficult situation, especially if there is a history involved. It
is too easy to assume you know what will be said and begin to act on the basis
of your assumptions, before you actually hear what is said and know what was
meant. Proverbs 18:13 applies here as well.
Ephesians 4:29 – Be careful
to say only what is helpful to your listeners (your parents). Your goal is to
build them up by your words, not to get even.
Proverbs 15:1 – The value
of a soft answer; if you reply to cynicism with cynicism, or to harsh words
with more of the same, you will only continue to stir the emotional pot.
I Corinthians 13:7 – Love
always hopes and thinks the best. Admittedly, this is a demanding text, but it is
God's direction. If there have been past conflicts, thinking the best may
appear foolish and naive. This is when you must focus on trusting God in
Proverbs 16:20-24 –
Pleasant words promote instruction. In this case pleasant words will promote
your intentions of honor and respect. This concept is closely connected to
Proverbs 15:1 (above).
Romans 12:17-21 – Return
good for evil. This is important. Even if you think actions were done to hurt
you or teach you a lesson, God's direction is clear. God wants you to follow
him and return good for evil.
Ephesians 6:1 – Respond
with honor and respect. Even if grandparents are clearly in the wrong, you must
still respond with honor toward them.
As you meditate on these
principles, pray faithfully for God to help you to apply them and to bless your
efforts. Only with the help of the Holy Spirit can you change, and only by the
work of the Spirit will your godly attitudes and actions be perceived as
helpful and loving. Pray daily for his help and power.
In following these
principles don’t lose sight of your responsibility. God has made you
accountable for your children. These principles are to help you exercise this
accountability with grace and confidence. You want to bring honor to God in your
dealings with grandparents. By God’s grace, old wounds can heal. As far as it
depends upon you, "live at peace with all men," especially your