DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: No one likes to invite my aunt to family gatherings because all she does is talk about herself. She never listens or shows any interest in what’s happening to anyone else, and it’s hard having her around. What can we do about this? — T.S.
DEAR T.S.: To be honest, the only thing we can do with some people is simply accept them and love them just the way they are. It’s especially true as they grow older and may find it hard to change. The Bible says, “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
After all, isn’t this the way God deals with us? He doesn’t wait until we’re perfect before he’ll love us. He accepts us just as we are. He is patient with us, and when we turn to him and by faith open our hearts to Christ, he welcomes us and makes us part of his family forever. And just as he has patience with us, so we need to have patience with others and their shortcomings. The Bible says, “Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
So welcome your aunt and ask God to help you be patient with her and take an interest in her concerns. Elsewhere in your letter, you mention that she lives alone now, and undoubtedly she looks forward to these gatherings. Think of them as opportunities to bless her and minister to her.
At the same time, ask God to help your aunt become more concerned about others. Sharing family stories around the table or engaging her in personal conversations might help with this. In addition, ask God to show you ways you can help her understand the importance of living for Christ and for others, and not just for ourselves.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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