One of the most popular game shows on television is Family Feud, hosted by Steve Harvey. It is a game filled with laughter, fun, comradery and even embarrassment sometime. Steve Harvey is truly the man for the job, for he keeps it exciting and sometimes add comments that are hilarious. Just in case you are not familiar with the game, it consists of five members of one family competing against five members of another family. The objective of the game is to guess the results of audience survey questions. What I love about the television game is that the families appear to get along so well. It could be that families select members of their family who have a good rapport with each other. It is a good feeling seeing families laugh and love on each other. It goes deeper than family members loving on each other, for it depicts families of different races and colors associating with each other in a sociable and loving environment for at least the duration of the show. It sends a message to all of us that real life relationships could and should be the same.
There is another family feud that many of us have read about and heard about over the years. Sometimes in our communities, families do not get along with each other and they are referred to as the Hatfield and the McCoy feud. It has been reported that the Hatfield and McCoy feud was so bad that it became known as the Hatfield-McCoy conflict. The conflict involved two rural American families of West Virginia-Kentucky who were always involved in a dispute. The feud was so bad that family members on both sides were killed. Many of the family members on both sides were also imprisoned for their heinous acts.
The type of family feud I wish to place emphasis on in this writing are modern day conflicts. One of the most disappointing aftermaths of a funeral is when family members begin to feud and argue over what has been left as an inheritance. Recently, parents of a family died and left properties and money to members of the family. There is a last will and testament, but siblings are contesting the will left by the parents. Brothers and sisters who have lived on the same property for most of their lives are hating on each other and it is beginning to spill over into the community. This is an example of a family gone bad even when parents have supposedly left business matters in order. Just imagine how things would be if there were no legal documents to reference. It behooves all of us to get our affairs in order. It is painful to see a family struggling to live in the same community not speaking to each other.
One of the most profound scriptures relative to family feuds is Colossians 3:13: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Many family feuds are caused by greed and selfishness. Sadly, too often the feud is caused by what could be considered insignificant and unrealistic factors. Trust me, it does not matter whether a million dollars is in the coffer for distribution or ten dollars. A family feud can rise its ugly head unnecessarily and destroy a family. Some of you may be reading this and begin to have a guilt feeling because of disruption, chaos and confusion in your family. Life is not always fair and sometimes our family members are not fair, but family should mean more than what material things can provide.
Sometimes the feud is simply caused by family members who just don’t get along with each other. No family is perfect, but God expects the family to live in harmony and love. There is an expectation that family will love each other in a godly fashion in good times and bad. We have a tendency of letting little mishaps create a lifetime of family misery. A suggestion for today is simply, be big enough to fix it.
One of the most popular feuding stories in the Bible is that of Esau and Jacob. Things got so bad between these two brothers that Esau said to himself, “When the period of mourning is over, I will kill my brother.” (Genesis 27:41).
As the firstborn son, Esau was entitled to his father’s blessing and a greater share of the inheritance. Rebekah and Jacob conspired to trick Isaac while his eyesight was weak, and blessed Jacob instead of Esau. As a result of this feud, the family lived in dysfunction and discord for years. The good news is that Esau and Jacob were able to reconcile after years, even though it was difficult.
It is not easy to reconcile, but if we consider ourselves children of God, someone must be big enough to extend the olive branch. Let today be a Day of Reconciliation and Forgiveness. If the truth be told, some of us are feuding and don’t have a clue why.
Just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor