A popular successful Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist once said, “When selling to close friends and family, no matter how much you’re selling to them, they will always feel you’re earning their money, no matter how cheap you sell to them, they still wouldn’t appreciate it.”
Just like in business, one of the more difficult challenges in your participation in Christ’s saving mission is in sharing the Good News to your family and friends. It seems awkward for them to hear from you – someone they know so much that they always look at it with indifference. [Don’t get me wrong as family has always looked and appreciated my efforts in this regard but there are still those few who chose to distance away whenever situations like these are presented to them.]
In the Gospel (Lk. 4: 21-30), the people were amazed at the gracious words that came from Jesus, but they then asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” Those who knew him up close where skeptical and asked this question. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus pointed out to them their indifference and doubt. “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place”, Jesus told them, proceeding further about the stories in the Old Testament about the favors God bestowed elsewhere but Israel. The people became furious, rose up, and became close to being violent. For them the truth hurts and is so hard to swallow.
Why is it like that? I also heard of spouses not listening to their spouse talk about such concerns, children who don’t listen to their siblings, nor children listening to their parents. This is more often the rule than the exception. At one time while in the South after doing a talk on Spirituality which was so well liked by my department members, I asked my assistant why other managers don’t try doing the things we’re doing? She responded by saying, “maybe they are not comfortable doing it, or maybe they have that fear of being rejected. It’s also difficult because they may have done something bad in the past that affects their credibility in discussing something about doing good”.
This is also likewise true with us. We tend to be somewhat selective and biased with family. Maybe it is more of being so familiar with them that we tend to let biases come into the picture and affect our impressions and reactions. Your experiences with them has become some sort of filter that is screening out the good intentions that they may have. You let these downsides muddle the goodness of their intentions. Subconsciously you carry much baggage including resentments, hurts and bad experiences.
The Lord is telling us to remove these biases and open our hearts to family and friends. What we can do is try to unload these “baggage”, look at their positive side and give family an open mind and a fresh chance at presenting themselves differently from the bad experiences in the past.
Reflect on the strength of your family instead of their weaknesses. Reflect on how God has worked on improving them and their lives. You may be surprised at what God is telling you through them.