What does it mean to show Christ’s love to our families? How is God working in our families? The recent “Honouring Family” event held on 7 March, organised by the GBC Young Adults Ministry, sought to break barriers and start a conversation about the often sensitive and delicate topic of family.
Our YAs spent a Saturday afternoon listening to sharing by various YAs from GBC, and also had a time of sharing and discussion in smaller groups. The panel comprised of Cherie, Sidney and Gideon and it was moderated by Sze-Ern. The panellists came together to share their perspectives on what it means to honour their families. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, they emphasised how important it is to exercise grace and love in a family regardless of family situation.
Growing up, Cherie and her family were not Christians and she shared her past struggles as she observed how worshipping different gods often brought conflict within her family. Her family began going to church when she was about 12, and eventually, she decided to believe in Christ when she was a teenager. However, the path from there was never smooth-sailing as she recounts. She was often challenged about her faith in Christianity in university and also faced criticisms from her parents.
It would later take her countless debates and many “argumentative essays” to her parents to realise how limited she is in controlling what her parents thought about her. In humility, she shared that sometimes we hold our parents to lofty and often unrealistic standards. When they fail to meet our expectations, we tend to get angry and cry foul over their actions. Instead, she suggests that the solution is to be intentional in the way we listen to our families and understand their perspectives. This would enable us to be present for one another as well as to show care and concern for them, ultimately pointing them to God’s love.
Sidney came from a non-Christian background and emphasised the importance of having humility to understand other perspectives in strengthening relationships with our family. In recent years, he found that he had changed his attitude to see the need to show care and concern for his parents as well as to spread the gospel with his non-believing parents.
When asked how he deals with disagreements in the family, he responded, “Having serious conversations with your family and paying attention to what is important to them is key”. By encouraging active discussion and understanding their view points, we can strive to resolve any misunderstandings and foster harmony within the family. He added that “we live in a broken and sinful world and perhaps the right thing to do is to trust God”.
Gideon grew up in a Christian family and shed some insights into conflict and disagreements. He said, “The biggest disagreement occurs when both parties refuse to say sorry to one another.” He added that, “it takes one to come from a genuine view of forgiveness to listen and understand what they really need.” Often enough, when we get into conflicts with family members, we tend to be blinded by anger and personal insecurities, making us confrontational in the way we respond to our family members. However, Gideon encourages us to take a step back to acknowledge our own mistakes and listen to the concerns of others so that we can truly love and honour our families, just as how Jesus has intended.
Through the testimonies of our panellists, it was clear that how we honour our family reflects God’s grace and love for all. Indeed, by actively listening to our family members, having open communication about sensitive issues and acknowledging our differences, we can be the salt and light to a broken and sinful world.