In the last few weeks we have seen the bulk of our society turn virtual. Businesses, churches, restaurants, coffee shops, schools, colleges and many other things have had to put their day-to-day operations online almost overnight. While it is a blessing that we live in an age where many people can work from home, continue their education from home, and do most of their day-to-day activities online, it has also created a unique situation in the home requiring more grace, more conversations, and more apologies.
What do I mean by this? In a normal day, most people are outside of the home. People go to work, school, church, and many other social outings. In the span of a few weeks, all of these things have been pushed online, and families are quarantined to their homes. What this has created is more time being spent together trying to accomplish our daily tasks in a limited space. Whereas the home was once a place of rest and family time, it has quickly turned into the office, the classroom, and the worship sanctuary. So this raises the question- with an entire household being confined to their homes, attempting to do their daily activities in the same space, how are we to not only survive this time, but to actually live in a Christ-oriented way?
First, we must look to give more grace. This has been an unprecedented time for everyone. People are on edge, and the fear of the unknown mixed with interrupted routines can cause some tension in the house. This is the chance for us to show grace. When we feel like we have been wronged, short-changed, or dealt with unfairly, we have the chance to let grace shine through. Our goal as Christians is to put Christ on display, and what better opportunity to do that than to show grace when we have been wronged or mistreated. This means that when your spouse nips at you for something, your children misbehave, or your roommate doesn’t pull their weight, you can look to show Christ to them by showing grace. Showing grace is a conscious decision made each day, each hour, and sometimes each minute. Wake up in the morning and ask God for help in showing grace to the people you live with. Remember, we can give grace because Jesus first gave us grace by taking our place on that cross.
Secondly, we need more conversation. The usual amount of conversation will not cut it. Communication needs to take place every day, helping to set forth the various plans and expectations of the day. I personally believe that most arguments come from uncommunicated, unmet expectations. This can be in marriage relationships, parent and child relationships, roommate relationships, professional relationships and many more. Setting up healthy communication habits will only help as we are all stuck in our homes for the time being. We are given a unique opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations that you would not likely get to have if we were all going our separate directions each day. Disfunction thrives in silence, but communication allows for healthy relationships.
Lastly, we need to expect more apologies. Not from each other, but to each other. Be quick to say “I’m sorry” and to help fix the issue between you and the other person. When people are confined together for extended periods of time, conflict is bound to happen. Yet, what matters most is how we respond to that conflict. If we look to admit fault and work together towards a resolution, we can better love and serve the other people in our household. Saying “I’m sorry”, should not come from a position of weakness, but of strength, looking to honor and respect the other person and seeing the end relationship as the greatest priority.
During this season let’s remember this verse: 1 John 4:9-11 9 ”In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
We need to set the goal now that we will do our best to show grace, start conversations, and be quick to apologize. By doing this, we can put the love of Christ on display to the people we live with.