No Family Drama Here!
Every once in a while, somebody will remark to me, Janet or one of our kids that it seems like our family can have a lot of drama at times. Now that really isn’t from Janet’s side of the family mind you – it’s more from my side of the family. And while I guess it could be true that Toussaints are passionate about their position on things, suffice it to say that I grew up this way. My Dad and both of his brothers, Wayne and Vernon, were passionate about what they believed in. My cousins would bear out my claim that none of our fathers would shrink away from what they wanted to say. Unless, on occasion, when any of their wives would speak up and intercede.
I also have become very close friends with a distant cousin of mine, Dave. His father and mine were first cousins and so we are really related, but we didn’t grow up in the same geographical area or with knowledge of each other as children. And he will attest that his Dad was somewhat the same way – used to getting his point across. So as I age, it just seems to me that our ancestors were all cut from the same cloth – vocal about getting things done.
Now Janet will tell you that she wishes that at least one of our three children would have inherited her mild demeanor. No such luck. And that means that Janet has spent the last 40 years with me and then our kids, in a home where passions run deep. Of course, this has worked to everyone’s benefit at times also. Rarely did we get bad service – or an unclean hotel room. And the kids knew what was expected of them as they were growing up. Sure, at times I am sure that they felt more confined than some of their friends, but none of them has ever had a problem with the police, run away from home, spent a night in jail, or done any of the things that so many children of “boomer” parents do. They all have good jobs and are raising responsible families of their own.
But it is sometimes difficult for new people to come into our sphere of influence. Especially if they tend to be on the quiet side. Because Jill kind of calls things the way they are, Andrew is the most compassionate of the three, but can be impatient at times and Kristin lives life large. I would go so far as to say that you can’t be around Kristin and not have a good time. She’s just full of life and at times can be a little outrageous. Of course, all of the kids have their own unique character traits, but each of them is different.
When you live in a family that is as active and involved as we are, there are bound to be highs and lows. Each of us is prone to good days and bad days; and we share those with one another. Sure, we get amped up from time to time, but when the chips are down, the family sticks together against all odds. And that is a foregone conclusion. Nothing comes between members of the family.
I know that this may appear as drama to those outside the inner sanctum, but it really isn’t. In fact, our family behavior is predicated on a particular verse of Scripture found in 1 Peter but the Greek translation of the verse is a little different that what we read in the English. Peter wrote his epistle about the suffering of Christians. The point of the letter was to let people know that many Christians would suffer at the hand of Nero and that all Christians should share good, or bad, news – just as if it was happening to you individually. In 1 Peter 3:8, we are told, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”
Specifically, the word sympathetic is made up of 2 other words – “sym” meaning “same” and “pathos” meaning to be of the same DNA. In other words, Jesus expects all Christians to celebrate when something good happens to one – and likewise, to suffer when something negative happens to any member of the “body.” That’s the way our family rolls.
When one of us has something good to report, we all celebrate and when one of us is suffering, we all suffer together – we act as a unit. Make no mistake, that means there is a lot of celebrating and a lot of suffering going on all the time in our family. But that’s okay – it’s the way God intended. I don’t prefer to think of it as drama – it’s just being really close as a family. By the way, we are still working on the part about being in harmony with one another – and I don’t think we have mastered humility yet either…. but we have the love part down and as a group, we have a high degree of compassion for others in the body who are hurting.
My encouragement this evening is to make sure you realize that God doesn’t want to you live in a vacuum. We, as believers, are to bind ourselves together and care about one another. Sometimes that isn’t the easiest thing to do, but practice makes perfect. My prayer is that you will love well, and that you will come to a deeper understanding of how God wants believers to act as one. Invest in your relationships with your family and don’t be afraid to be passionate, knowing that God will bless the effort. Have a wonderful day in the Lord, grace and peace…