They Are Coming!

Author: Michael Heiden

Christmas is upon us and close friends and families will be gathering together. This can be the best of times and worst of times! This is true because every family is a little crazy and every family has its hurts and wounds. The question is how can I have a healthier relationship with those closest to me?

 James, the brother of Jesus, gives us some very practical handles on how to do just that.
SIDENOTE: Jesus' family had it's quirks as well. In Mark 3:21, his family (including James) comes to get Jesus because they believe He is 'out of his mind.' How did James go from, my brother is crazy to He is Lord? One word Easter! Jesus' death and resurrection changed everything, including His relationship with James.

     Back to the main point, in James 5, he gives us practical and biblical handles on how to live in a healthy relationship with those closes to us namely our close friends, family and church family.

  1. Personal Ownership: recognize and own what season of life you are in. Own your faith journey. 
    1. James 5:13a, “ Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” Notice the question is plural but the answer is singular. If you are suffering, recognize and own the season you are in. Then put your faith in action and pray. Prayer turns us towards God. So turn your suffering, cares, anger, frustration, and worries over to God, who loves you. 
    2. James 5:13b, “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” Are you on a mountain top right now? Sing praises to the giver of every good gift (James 1:17). This too turns you towards God and fosters a faith and heart of gratitude. 
    3. James 5:14, “ Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Don’t keep those close to you in the dark, reach out so that they can pray with you and for you. You are not meant to walk through suffering alone and it is the highest privilege to raise one another up to our Heavenly Father. 
  2. Collective Ownership
    1. James 5:16b, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another…” This is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship with those around you because this is the cornerstone of our relationship with God. Confessing and receiving forgiveness. This is the cornerstone because it centers us on the person and work of Jesus! It changes everything for us…just like it did for James. So, who do you need to confess or apologize to? Who do you need to extend forgiveness to? This is the only way to mend broken relationships and heal our wounds. 
    2. James 5:16b, “... and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Prayer helps us bear one another’s burdens. It is one of the simplest, yet most powerful ways to express love. We are actively lifting up the ones we love to the one who loves them most. 

To Sum up: own your journey, personally and collectively!
 Are you suffering? Pray
Are you cheerful? Sing
Are you Sick? Reach out
Have you wronged someone? Confess
Has someone hurt you? Forgive
How should I love this person? Pray for them
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