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September 16, 2020

Being Home When Home Is Hard 


by daniel chabeda, yale ’20 

Editor’s note: The following devotional was written by Daniel Chabeda, who served as a student president of Christian Union Lux at Yale University before graduating in May. This devotional was part of a series entitled “On Our Hearts, On Our Minds,” that encouraged the Christian Union community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 

Colossians 3:12-14

 

How do we live well in these difficult home environments? The answer lies in living in a faithful relationship with Jesus. Some of you might now be thinking, “What a disappointingly unoriginal conclusion to what was otherwise a fresh and engaging piece!” But even faithful Christians can begin to think that the grinning, gap-toothed chorus of “Jesus is the answer!” sung by five-year-old Sunday school students squatting on multicolored jigsaw mats is oversimplified, if not plain childish.

YaleSummer2020

Daniel Chabeda, Yale ’20


This distrustful response towards Jesus comes from an expectation that God is, like our human relationships, holding out on us. We believe that God, the gracious giver of all things, is holding some true secret of life away from His children, close to the chest, protecting His most vulnerable self—like we often do in our relationship with Him.

How do we act? We hold to the teaching of Jesus: “Let your light shine before others.” (Matthew 5:16) Amidst the very real tragedy and suffering of widespread disease, we each have an incredible opportunity to lead our homes in becoming houses of God, where Jesus is glorified as family members show “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” to one another. So be the first to forgive your siblings or parents when disputes arise and the first to apologize when you are in the wrong. “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” (Colossians 3:13)

View all struggles—family tension, emotional pain, spiritual temptation—as an opportunity to let light shine in your home, and not as a heavy burden. How can Jesus develop in us patience if our patience is not tried? Who better than our family members? Sometimes it feels like our biological families were constructed randomly, with God paying little heed to compatibility, yet expecting lifelong bonds of love. This is by design.

Our biological families are a preliminary picture of the family we enter as members of God’s family, the church. We are connected not by individual similarity, but shared parentage: in our biological families, our mother and father, but in the church, our heavenly Father.