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?
1）Intercede 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>.
2）Encourage 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.
3）Do 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>.
4）Shift 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?
5）Must continue doing the above, instead of do once, see no change in family members then give up.