A Different Perspective

The Spotlight: You Don’t Have To Love Your Family!


Hey, y’all.  It’s been a long hiatus from The Spotlight, but I had to put it on the back burner last month.  I was overwhelmed, and I am still quite overwhelmed with much that I am doing to push my first book out into the world.  Please bear with me as I try to regain my balance and rhythm on my regular series.

Each week on The Spotlight, I am supposed to share about a fantastic or particularly critical, insightful or thought-provoking post I read that week, but this week, I am sharing on a post I read the previous week.  Because I really wanted to share about it last week, but was not chanced.  I think it touches on a critical issue that definitely needs further examination.

The post, by Jessica Wildfire, published on Medium, is called “You Don’t Have To Love Your Family!”  I accidentally stumbled on this post while sorting through my posts of Medium, and I was compelled to read it.  It was weirdly funny and true, but also requires a discerning spirit to digest.

I shared my comments in response to her post and comments, and you can read my thoughts on it, when you follow through to read the post.  Here is an excerpt from the post.  Do read the whole thing on her Medium blog, and come back here and let’s talk some more.

“Our culture has brainwashed us all to worship at the altar of family kinship. Why? No innate reason exists for loving your family, or even liking them, except for genetics. And that’s a shitty reason.

Mainstream media bombards us with images of happy families, traditional or otherwise. We’re taught that we have nothing without our clan. If you don’t spend every Christmas with your extended relatives, then you must be a crippled alcoholic, popping Vicodin until the holidays end so you can go back to work. Wrong. Some of us just don’t feel anything toward our families, one way or the other. With mine, the good cancels out the bad. That should be okay.

This friend of mine, her entire family pitched in and bought her a wedding dress last Christmas. The problem? She’s not engaged. I mean, she had been. The family all knew her fiance, and blamed the relationship’s failure on her. Her mom said, “We just thought we might as well give you some motivation.” My friend is great, practically my sister. When she told me, she cried a little. But then we realized that it was typical behavior for her family…” Read more…

So, have you read it all?  What did you think?  Do you agree with Jessica?  Do you have some people in your family that are hard to love?  Do you think there’s a difference between a “duty of care” owed to our families, and the “feelings of love” we share with people we are genuinely passionate about?  Is it really love if you do not have good emotions towards someone, but only perform your duty to a family member?

There are lots of questions.  Did you happen to read my comments?  Here are direct links: FIRST COMMENT and SECOND RESPONSE.

I still don’t have my thoughts all together on this, because this is quite a sensitive issue, and I am also very aware about how our practice of love defines us as Christians (John 13:34-35, Matt 5:43-48).  The main thing for me though is, like John attested to when he asked “how can you say you love God, whom you have not seen, yet not love your brother whom you have seen?” (1 John 4:20), is “if you can’t love your family, who can you say you truly love?”  Is love in your nature or is it just something you do as you feel, when it is convenient or easy?

Talk to me!

Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com

If you liked this post, you might like THE SPOTLIGHT: THREE PERSPECTIVES ON MARRIAGE

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3 replies »

  1. I have read the recommended post. Jessica may have her reasons ( as she clearly stated) for saying that you don’t have to love your family. I found that very strange to contemplate … So if there is any room to disagree with that position, I would quickly occupy it without thinking twice.

    No family is ever perfect. But family members can help one another to get better and make more out of life. So if they need our love (and I believe they do), we should be there for them as much as it is within our powers.

    What if we happen to be the unlovable ones? Will it be okay if family ostracises us?

    In my own opinion, we have to always love our family members. If they prove unlovable in any way, we should find another way to love them still. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ will make a lot of difference in this regard.

    Liked by 1 person

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