Dealing with Family Members who are Hard to Change

<Lk 6:32-36; 1 Co 3:6-9; Ro 15:1-4, 7, 13; 1 Co 1:4, 8-9; Gal 6:1>


1. Our wrong assumptions about “human ability to change”.

1“Our family members can change themselves, just that they refuse to.”

·       If a person is not born again, how can he do good and have life transformation?

·       But after receiving Christ, there may also not be obvious changes. Christians are at the same time sinners too; the believer’s flesh is always in conflict with the Holy Spirit.


2“Let me change my family members!”


2. Though we cannot change them, we can love our family members.

·       Transforming people is God’s work, but our role is to love people as God had commanded us.

·       Read <Lk 6:32-36>.


3. Though we cannot ensure our family members will change, we can participate in that process of transformation.

·       Read <1 Co 3:6-9>.


4. So what can we do?

1Intercede before demand.

·       Examine our heart of wanting our family members to change: Do we want them to change because of our own ideals and preferences? Or do we want them to change for their own good and for the glory of God?

·       Read <Ro 15:1-4, 7, 13>.


2Encourage before criticise.

·       Read <1 Co 1:4; 8-9>.

·       Despite the imperfection of our family members, can we give thanks to God because of them?

·       We tend to focus on people’s weaknesses and ugly side, but often neglect God’s work and grace on them.

·       It is actually very hard to change, so our family members need our encouragement.

·       Encouraging others is not necessarily simply comforting them with nice words, but can also challenge them in certain ways.


3Do not indulge, but correct and teach too.

·       Although it is hard, should still rebuke, correct, explain and teach when necessary.

·       But if family members are unwilling to repent, some discipline and boundaries to guard ourselves may be necessary.

·       Read <Gal 6:1>.


4Shift from focusing on changes in family members to examining ourselves.

·       Does only the so-called “weak party” or “party in the wrong” need to change?

·       Have we done anything that may lead to their bad habits or responses?

·       If we have prayed but family members still do not change, is it possible that God wants us to change first?

·       Besides demanding our family members to change, what have we done to practically help them?

·       Are our expectations of our family members reasonable?


5Must continue doing the above, instead of do once, see no change in family members then give up.