The holiday season is right around the corner. Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gatherings are looming large. Would you believe that sometimes these festivities can be a bit challenging for Christians? This is particularly true when they visit family or friends who are not disciples. It is even more difficult when the family members engage in behaviors that are not in harmony with the faith. What is the disciple to do?
Leave Legalism at the Door
Some folks have used 2 Corinthians 6:14 as an excuse not to visit grandma’s house this year for the traditional holiday feast. This is an unscriptural use of this passage. Rather, look to 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 for a deeper insight. This passage clearly states that staying away from sinful people outside the church would be tantamount to leaving this world. This is not what the early Christians had in mind. Rather, just like Jesus, they saw these gatherings as opportunities to share the good news.
Beware the Fire and Brimstone Approach
How many disciples have alienated their families simply by preaching a hard-lined teaching that was big on judgment but small on compassion? Consider Acts 17:16-ff. Paul here succeeds at preaching to theists (Jews), pantheists (Stoics) and atheists (Epicureans) simply by finding common ground and using it as a springboard. Leave the fire and brimstone; instead, view your family with compassion and reaffirm common bonds. From there, a gospel message is much easier to receive.
Of course, you still have to avoid sinful situations (1 Corinthians 15:33). So, don’t go along to get along. In addition, set a good example by practicing what you preach (1 Timothy 4:16). Thus, if you say that gossip is wrong, don’t participate when the family talks about the aunt, uncle or other relation behind their backs. The rest is up to God.