Scripture: (Ruth 2:11-12 NKJV)  And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. {12} “The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Observation:  After the death of her husband and their sons, Naomi returned to her home land.  While Orpah, one of her daughters-in-law went back to her own home and family, Ruth, her other daughter-in-law, chose to travel with Naomi and settle in Naomi’s home land, be forever part of her family, and to fully accept and worship her God.  While they lived together Ruth was devoted to the care of Naomi and her attitude, actions, and devotion to service did not go unnoticed.  In fact, Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s, noticed Ruth’s care and indirectly made provision to help them.  It is in this setting that we read Boaz commending Ruth in our text for today.

Application:  The close relationship between Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth is special but by no means unique.  Many mothers-in-law have been have been specially loving, supportive, and kind to their sons or daughters-in-law, and in some cases they have had a closer relationship than with their own children.  The same has been the case with daughters or sons-in-law toward their spouse’ parents.
     I borrow the title today from a book by Christian psychologist H. Norman Wright he speaks about this relationship which could be most damaging to a couple’s relationship or a tremendous blessing to all.  For some reason, mothers-in-law have one of the worse reputations – in some cases probably well-deserved, but in most it is probably totally unwarranted.
     One way to change the negative dynamics is to make every effort to learn from the other person.  My wife and my mother had a very good relationship in spite of a language barrier, and I credit both for it.  My wife was always very kind and respectful of my mother, and she learned from her many of the things that I like and  have since been cooking for me some of my favorite dishes.  My mother was more than willing to share that information with Pam, but she also was careful not to usurp Pam’s place as the lady of the home and the one who holds first place in my life.  In addition, both of them also were very generous with the time that I was able to spend with each and that we spent together.
So those are three very simple things that anyone can do to have the best of relationships with their in-laws: 1. Make every effort to learn from the other – family history, tradition, customs, recipes, etc.;
2. Show respect for the other person’s position in their own home. 
3. Watch carefully the time spent with each, giving preference to your spouse first while not neglecting time with your own parents.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, may we all be blessed with a loving, supportive relationship with our in-laws, whether they are our parents-in-law or our children-in-law, that we may have the type of relationships that will be uplifting to everyone in the family.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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