“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin” (Leviticus 19:17).
In this mitzvah, we learn that it’s prohibited for us to allow our own personal family issues to fester into a deep seeded resentment against them.
I personally don’t have a perfect family. Then again, I don’t advertise my family's concerns out in public to put them in public shame, either. I do admit that I heed to this mitzvah to the best of my ability regardless of the family dynamics that I encounter in my personal life.
Quite often than not, members within the same family nucleus gravitate from one member to the next on a constant basis. Rarely do you ever see two family members defending each other’s side. The reason why I say that family members tend to gravitate towards the other is because of both a financial and an authoritative power struggle that constantly remains rising. In essence, he that has the money or the brute strength has the final authority, right? So it might seem so.
Yeshua taught that whenever someone gravitates towards money, they’re simply gravitating towards idolatry: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both Elohim and money” (Matthew 6:24). Granted, we might have bills to pay; however, it’s very important to be sensitive to another family member’s emotional concerns. Bills will always be there: last month, this month, next month’s and so forth. Family members, on the other hand, may not.
If a family member relies strictly on brute strength that too will also fade with the passing of time: “And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing” (Psalm 71:9). Yes, some family members rely on brute strength in order to get what they want out of another family member. But, what family value is there in brute strength? Are we trying to encourage the idea that it’s ok to use brute strength in order to get what we want from another person? Or, should we instill our verbal communication skills, mean what we say and say what we mean?
Contrary to relying on money or brute strength, Torah allows for us to rely on Elohim and His instructions. In fact, Torah allows for us to express verbally what exactly is bothering us without being held accountable for another family member’s sin. In other words, if a family member angers you, Torah says they’re simply sinning! Regardless of what position or role they play within the family nucleus, whenever a family member initiates a sense of anger to rise within you, there are sinning against Elohim. At least, this is what Paul understood: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them”(Ephesians 6:4).
So, what commends the Bible?
1.“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent” (Psalm 4:4).
2.“Give vent to your anger” (Job 40:11). That is, of course, know exactly what you want to say without offending. Express yourself in a way that you would say to yourself, “I’m proud of the sincerity and respect I gave to Elohim and my fellow brother.”
3.“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (Proverbs 15:1). Yes, be ready to give a soft answer regardless of whether or not you agree with the other person’s views.
4. Lastly, know that “People with understanding control their anger […]” (Proverbs 14:29). The other person may shout, scream and fight; it doesn’t matter. True men and women of Elohim that follow His commandments understand that something that distinguishes us from the rest of the world is our ability to control our anger.
The next time a family member tries to incur some sort of resentment within your heart, remember not to allow for anger to give birth to hatred as to nurse it as such. Just voice your thoughts in a gentle manner. Torah does allow for you to voice your concerns in a polite, decent order.
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