Questions about family relationships

Q How do I know if someone is the one I should marry?

a As with any spiritual question you have, you need to ask it with your spiritual life in mind. A commitment to the work of our spiritual life will enable you to recognize when the Lord brings your future marriage partner into your life. Pray that the Lord leads you to your eternal partner, and cooperate by being honest with the Lord about what you want in a partner. It is important to realize that you don’t find the perfect person to marry; you find someone you’re willing to work with, and through your life together, you become the perfect partners for each other.

Q What does it look like to bring my spirituality into my parenting?

a We bring spirituality into our parenting through practicing repentance (examining our lives, recognizing our faults, praying for help to change them, and beginning a new life). Our children are not really ours. They are the Lord’s, and we raise them so that they might know, love, and serve Him. In this, our example is more powerful than our words. We must work to obey the Lord and be honest with our children about how we are in process, too. Simply saying we’re sorry when we make a mistake, for example, can teach them worlds about spiritual life.

Q The Bible tells me to honor my father and mother. How do I honor a parent I don’t trust or respect?

a It is important to try to see the good in a person regardless of the glaring evils that may be there. Just as Shem and Japheth put a garment on their shoulders and walked backwards into their father Noah’s tent in order to cover his nakedness (Genesis 9:23), so too does the Lord want us to use all our power to focus on the good in people, and not to dwell on their faults.

Q How do I resolve differences in religion between me and my family members?

a There is no problem with people having different religions. Rather than focus on the differences, find common ground. Look for the good in other people and their religion, rather than look for the points of difference. If people have charity as their aim, then differences are not an issue. Seek to understand, not just to be understood. By focusing on the common good or love that exists, people can dwell happily together.

Q How is it possible to let go of long-held family grudges?

a Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive someone and have compassion, regardless of what the person does. The truth is that the Lord already forgave the person; it’s just a matter of opening ourselves up to that forgiveness. We can forgive someone and request that the person change his or her behavior. The Lord didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery, but He did offer correction when He said, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Forgiveness is a process. We are to keep working on it, keep praying for it, and then our feelings will gradually shift.

Rev. David Roth is the Pastor at the New Church of Boulder Valley in Colorado. Learn more at www.bouldernewchurch.org.

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