THAT Family Member: Time To Get it Right


4 Steps to Moving Past Hurt & Irritation


Families.  The holidays tend to throw us together with wild abandon and high expectations.   If you’ve been dreading the holidays since September because of  THAT family member…. You know the one I mean- the one who grates on your last nerve, pushes every button you have,  refuses to acknowledge your presence, or did that terrible, awful thing.  Then this week’s guest contributor is just for you.  Bruce Hussey, pastor of The Hope Center and executive director of Operation Hope Neighborhood Ministries in Jackson, TN, shares some wisdom about moving from hurting to healing with that family member this holiday season.


A couple of weekends ago, our little dog bit me.  He didn’t mean to, I’m sure.  His little paw was injured, and when I went to move him over in the bed, I accidentally hurt it again.  His reaction was to snap back at me.  And snap he did.  He drew blood.  And I got angry.  Really angry.

Not only did it hurt like the dickens, I felt betrayed!  After all the care and time I had put into our relationship…  Years of care and time, I tell you… I couldn’t believe that Winston had bitten me!

A lot of times, it’s like that with our families.  Those closest to us have the potential to hurt us most.  And often, one hurt leads to another.

It is important that we, as Christians, get our relationships right.  God’s people should not be living a life of hurt and turmoil.  But often times, when it comes to that certain family member, we are.  Hurt and turmoil are the enemy’s weapons to steal the peace, joy, and unity God created for our families. Yes, all of our families.  We need to get it right because, as God’s people, we can’t drag old hurts into the promised future He has for us.  So here are 4 simple (but not always easy) steps to getting it right when we get together this Christmas and anytime throughout the year.

1-Recognize there is something you can and should do about a problem that exists.

There is no such thing as “it’s their problem” if reconciliation is our goal.  It is our responsibility to ask forgiveness when we recognize someone has a grievance with us whether we think we have done anything wrong or not.  There is always a reason for a hurt.  Sometimes, we know exactly what we need to ask forgiveness for.  Other times, however, we might not understand what we did wrong or why a problem even exists in the first place.  There are times when the problem might not even be our fault, and we feel like we’re the ones being wronged. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t really matter.  If making amends and doing away with inner turmoil is truly our goal, we can bring healing to any situation by laying down our pride and asking forgiveness no matter what.

  • Matthew 18:21-35
  • Romans 12-16-19

2-Be willing to go first.

No matter who is in the wrong, we can’t afford to wait around for the other person to apologize first.  Making amends sets us free from the emotional baggage we carry.  Being willing to go ahead and make the first move offers freedom for both of you now.  Waiting around on someone else only continues to build resentment and hurt.  What’s more important?  Being right or being free?

  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • Proverbs 18:2, 16:24, 15:1

3-Move when the Holy Spirit prompts you.

Our flesh will try to talk us out of it.  When we start thinking forgiveness, all of the sudden we can vividly remember every hurt feeling, every rotten instance, and every tiny, little slight we’ve ever suffered.  And anger, hurt, and betrayal start burning just as bright as the day they happened.  That’s no coincidence.  Satan doesn’t want us to forgive because he doesn’t want us or our family to be free to enjoy this life God created for us.  He wants us to stay hurt, in turmoil, bitten by things of the past.  And, if we’re really honest, sometimes, we enjoy holding on to our hurt and anger.  As ugly as it is, our flesh likes how it feels.  And we feel completely justified in holding on because we know all that we have suffered.  Our injuries may be very real, but they will never be healed by holding on to them.  Don’t let your flesh talk you out of your freedom.

  • Ephesians 6:12
  • John 10:10

4-Repent for your part.

Stop accepting that it is okay to have and live with hurt feelings or unforgiveness.  The Bible says we are to be peacemakers.  The amplified translation spells out peace makers in Matthew 5 as ‘peace makers and maintainers.’  This includes maintaining your own peace through Christ Jesus.  You need supernatural peace in your life.  You should be spiritually calm.  And you can’t have that or be that if you are feeding, nurturing, justifying, holding onto hurt and anger and choosing to remain unhealed for any reason.  So ask God to forgive you for allowing grievances between you and your family members to steal His peace from you and let go of those destructive emotions now.

  • Hebrews 12:1-2

When you enter your family gatherings this holiday season, the spirit you bring with you should make a difference.  Simply put, we are either peacemakers or we’re not.  There really isn’t any middle ground.  Our families need us them free,  They need us to be the ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) God’s Word calls us to be.  That doesn’t mean that we run around trying to fix everyone’s problems, but it does mean that we be a peace maker and maintainer instead of a grudge holder or strife stirrer.  Our character should be a reflection of God’s character at all times, whether we think anyone else deserves it or not.  We should love and extend love even to those who we think are unloveable (Romans 5:8).  So resolve now that nothing anyone can say or do will steal your peace or prevent you from offering peace to your family this holiday season.  It’s never wrong to do the right thing by apologizing and setting others free.

And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted, compassionate, and understanding, forgiving one another readily and freely as God through Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32


This is no way implies that you should be a door mat.  Walk in quiet strength, learn to make up, to get along, and to let go of hurt.  Don’t take it personally if someone won’t accept your apology.  They may not be ready to let go of the hurt just yet or may have already given up on the possibility of true reconciliation.  That doesn’t mean that they won’t let go of their side of the grudge in the future.  And neither are reasons for you to remain trapped by your hurt.   Decide to be free from the turmoil you carry.  It’s such a relief when you decide to be over it!


Need more holiday encouragement?  Spend some time with these ASD favorites!

Mary- Did You Know?
What is a Gracious Thanksgiving Hostess?
Holiday Hospitality Home Tour

You can find this and other Christian living articles at Grace & Truth,  A Weekly Christian Link Up and Salt & Light Link Up #29.


IMG_4991Bruce Hussey and his wife, Debbie, are pastors at The Hope Center in Jackson, TN. For the last 21 years, they have also humbly served some of the most desperate areas of their community through Operation Hope Neighborhood Ministries, serving the last 19 years as Hope’s executive directors. (Read more…)


Title Photo Credit: Leon Reed





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  1. My favorite advice from this article is, “be willing to go first.” Such a simple truth to hear, and a difficult one to implement. Thank you for this thoughtful and encouraging read….

    1. Sarah, you are so right! It is one of the hardest things to go first, especially if you feel that you are the one who’s been wronged. But when we do it anyway, life gets so much lighter. I have found that the more I do these 4 simple steps, the more I am willing to do them all the much quicker the next time, just to be free of the hurt.

    1. Thank you, Timberley! This guest post from Bruce Hussey is one of my favorites. I find it hits home in such an honest and practical way. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    1. Going first is hard, especially if you feel that you are the one who has been wronged. However, if reconciliation is the real goal… It’s worth setting aside pride and just going for it!

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