Perhaps the most difficult times for blended families are the holidays. Ex-husbands and ex-wives, with grandparents on both sides, and step-children and step-siblings, all can be a recipe for hurt feelings and intense frustration during a season when family time is usually held most precious.
While God never intended for families to be broken, His grace can bring blended families out of the brokenness into peaceful acceptance of each other. With time, the relationships can even grow into unity and fellowship where division and anger once ran amok.
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In the Bible, King David understood the importance of family, and that every individual has an innate need to feel loved and accepted. He also understood that individuals can sometimes experience their greatest hurts because of family. Yet David knew that God does not overlook those who are left behind by family. This is evidenced by the words he wrote in one of his psalms: “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity. (Psalm 68:5-6) God sees and knows the pain caused by rejection, abandonment, divorce and all the other weapons that Satan uses to attack his number one threat: a strong, healthy family.
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Family is a vital part of a child’s life. Children who are blessed enough to be raised in a unified and loving environment have a great opportunity to lead successful Christian lives. But when that child lives in a home that has been affected by abandonment or divorce, their sense of family can become distorted and their spiritual growth stunted.
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The good news is that God can erase the negative effects of a broken family and make it as if it never existed. He can restore a child’s sense of family through second marriages, because of His endless love and grace for His children. But these newly connected families need to be even more diligent to foster an atmosphere of forgiveness, love and acceptance for all individuals involved.
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God desires that all children have a place of safety where they can grow and mature without being oppressed with the cares of this world. Yet children need not only physical safety, but emotional safety as well. Unfortunately, emotional safety can be compromised when one parent continually fosters and exhibits ill feelings toward the other parent. The child is caught in the middle and is left to try to sort through the feelings of confusion and hurt, even self-blame.
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Divorced parents should not be expected to deny their anger toward their ex-spouses, but they also should not display their distaste in the presence of the children involved. There is nothing more damaging to a child than for a parent to speak or act in such a way that the other parent appears less in the child’s eyes.
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The best way for an individual to learn how to balance a blended family is by reading and conscientiously applying the references found in the Bible on the Christian Church. The Apostle Paul gave some of the most practical teaching on how believers are to interact with one another. Paul’s same practical teaching can and should be applied to families as well. This is especially vital for blended families. In First Thessalonians 5:13-15, there are seven basic principles that they can follow:
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We are never promised that problems will never arise. In a blended family, jealousies are bound to surface. Feelings will be hurt. Tempers will ignite. Hearts will be disappointed. But when these problems do come up, the family that is devoted to following God’s Word will overcome these issues and thrive. Truthfully, it should be the goal of every family, blended or not, to make the holiday season a time of joy and merriment for everyone involved.
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