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Question

A member of my family always treats me and my family badly. I want them to treat us all with love and respect. What would Jesus do in my situation?

Answer

Thank you for contacting us with your question. I am sorry that you feel disappointed at your family member's behaviour. We all long to be loved unconditionally, especially by our own loved ones. It is sad that we Christians do have faults and let each other down. Perhaps your relative would be surprised if they knew how much their behaviour has hurt you.

You ask what Jesus would do in your situation. Of course, there were people who treated Him badly and rejected Him, so we can read those stories in the Bible and find out how He behaved. We know that his mother and brothers turned against Him for a while; they misjudged Him. So he understands what it feels like to be criticised and misunderstood by people who ought to love and support us.

Jesus had lots of other critics and enemies, too, and some of them hated Him so much that they plotted to kill Him. Once, He raised a man called Lazarus from the dead, even calling him out of his tomb! His enemies hated this so much that from that moment on, they planned to kill him. In the end, they really did kill Him. You can read about this in John 11.

This is what Jesus did.

1. He loved them anyway.

When He hung dying on the cross, He prayed for His enemies, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34).

In fact, the Bible says that Jesus died for His enemies.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)

I wonder if you can go on loving your relative, even though they have hurt you? You will need to ask God to help you, because this can be a very difficult to do.

2. He forgave them.

Jesus prayed that God would forgive His enemies. Can you forgive your family member? Hard though it is, it would help you get free of your own hurt.

3. He told them the truth.

Jesus was not afraid to tell people the truth, but He always did it out of love, not anger. He told His enemies:

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27)

This was a very strong criticism. I would not suggest that you are as straight as this to your relative, because it might just start an argument! However, could you tell them (or write to them) explaining how hurt you feel by her criticisms. They might argue with you, but they might listen, too. Why not talk to a trusted pastor or friend first and get wise advice?

4. Jesus did all he could for his enemies. In fact: he died for them.

Does your behaviour towards your relative show them that you love them? Love can be costly, when we feel it is not appreciated, but it is what Jesus did.

5. He focused on what God wanted, not what people wanted.

"My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work," (John 4:34)

Jesus wants us, too, to care more about what God thinks than what people think.

"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother," (Matthew 12:50)

It is better to be related to Jesus than to our human relatives, however much we love them.

I wonder do you know Jesus? If you do not, He came into the world to save you and make you His friend. There is a prayer on this website you can pray to ask Jesus to be your Saviour.

To summarise, Jesus does show us how to respond to people who treat us badly and He promises to help us.

So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

Jesus focused on pleasing God and loving and helping people, rather than focusing on the way they treated Him; He was able to live free of hurt and anger and their behaviour did not control Him. Sometimes, when we become angry and bitter about someone's behaviour toward us, we allow their behaviour to control us. We become demoralised and feel that our life will not change until they change. This is not true.

The most important thing to remember is that God made you, He is the One who loves you unconditionally and He has a good plan for your life.

Do you know God for yourself? If not, there is a prayer on this website that can help you. He wants to be your Saviour and Lord and to lead you in your life.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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