How Do You Handle Your Cousin Eddie?

Erik Cooper —  December 19, 2011 — 3 Comments

Everybody has an offensive family member (or seven).

  • The know-it-all uncle who always has to “one-up” your story.
  • The oblivious brother-in-law who tells inappropriate jokes around your daughter.
  • The loser cousin who parks his RV in front of your house and lets his snot-nosed dog run across the dining room table.

The holidays are full of so much joy, meaning, and good cheer (and for some of you, hard liquor). Let’s be honest, some of you are dreading time with your family this Christmas. They’re broken. Dysfunctional. Offensive.

A few years ago, we spent 10 days on a bus with 50 people traveling through The Netherlands. You spend that kind of time in that small a space with that many people, and offenses are inevitable (heck, the odor alone is offensive). So we came up with a little mantra that just might help you through the holiday season while maintaining your sanity and sobriety:

“Don’t offend. Don’t be easily offended.”

There’s no way to control your cousin Eddie, but you do have control of how you respond to his antics.

If there’s real wounding, deep hurt, or reoccurring patterns of troublesome behavior, take them on. Have an honest conversation. Step into the tension. Deal with the conflict in a Biblical and God-honoring way.

But if you’re heading into Christmas just waiting to be offended, I’d say the odds are high that you probably will be. Maybe there’s a better way.

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
-Proverbs 19:11 (NIV)

How do you handle your cousin Eddie?

3 responses to How Do You Handle Your Cousin Eddie?

  1. Good advice. I don’t see family at Christmas. I don’t see family much any time. However, when we are together sometimes I’m challenged. Thanks for the post.

  2. What if I’m the Eddie?

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