By Racheal Kiiza

“We don’t choose our family” is a popular saying that I have heard used in church. I thought pastors used it to comfort those who felt their families brought out the worst in them, or had hurt them so badly that there couldn’t possibly be a restoration plan.

Those we love hurt us the most and only time can heal those wounds. I have had my share of hurt and pain with family members. Many times it’s not because of a mountain-top argument that requires family meetings or results in the, “I am not talking to you for the next 1 year, even if we are family’’ rhetoric. Sometimes it is the slight lava overflow of not telling each other things and finding them out from friends of friends. With family, small things can bring out the worst in everyone.

In Africa, supporting one another is tradition. Aunt Mary supports Uncle Ben’s children if Uncle Ben is deceased or just can’t afford to take care of his children through university. That is usually the norm, although in some families the stories are different. Uncles and aunts abscond their role and the children struggle. Now that pain cannot be erased.

Last year, I met a young lady whose mother had passed on and her own father sold off all their property and never gave them a cent. He moved on like he never had children. When she told me her story, my mouth couldn’t hold itself shut. The muscles were lifeless. My mind was going off with, “but he is your father. How can he do that in this day and age?” I could see the pain in her eyes as she told me her ordeal.

Many of us, given the opportunity to instruct God, would not hesitate to give Him a checklist so He gives us the perfect family. God, in His wisdom, created everything purposefully and we belong to the families we belong to for a reason.

The truth is family will always cause us pain and, at the same time, happiness and joy. I can’t promise a joy ride. I simply commend to you the way of love. “Love is patient, kind, doesn’t exalt itself, forgives, and puts others above self.’’ 1 Corinthians 13.

You exercise love with family in order to forgive and live freely. Love them because they are deserving of your love. It’s not even about them, it’s about you. Love you and appreciate you and then you will see the good in others; you will be quick to forgive. Do it for yourself.

Be thankful for your family.