Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Are You One of the 'Others'?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow!
Turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and pie.
And family. Lots of family!

I'm looking forward to it all!
Taking a brief vacation from my Keto diet to enjoy plenty of carbs. *wink*

I realize, however, the thought of gathering with family is not a happy one for everybody. For some, it's because this year someone is going to be missing from around the table. And, for others it's because of hurts and relational damages from which they have yet to heal - and maybe for which they have yet to extend forgiveness.
For those of you who fit into the "some" category, please know I am not intending to down-play your pain as I write this post. I am so sorry for your loss. Your grief may be very fresh, and I know at times you feel like you cannot breathe. As I type these words I am asking God to comfort you as only HE can. I am asking Him to raise up loving people around you to help you walk this road. I pray your hope in Jesus and the gift of eternity we have because of His death and resurrection will sustain you.

It is for those of you who find yourselves in the "others" category that I am motivated to write this post.

That is to say, over the past few days I have listened to - and participated in - several conversations about broken familial relationships which plague too many of us. The thought of it all breaks my heart.
And so today I am making a plea.
I realize I do not know the wrongs which have been done to you. I admit, I am unaware of the torment you have experienced, and the angst you feel when you are in the same room as "that person." I don't know how hard it is for you to attempt to interact civilly with - or even politely ignore - said family member.
But I do know this:
*I have sat with an old woman and held her as she cried for the regret she had of not loving her son well.
*I have listened to the heart-ache of a father whose children refused to visit because of the things he had done or said years ago - for which he was so sorry, but about which he could do nothing because they wouldn't make room.
*I have watched an elderly woman agonize over why her siblings ignore her requests for reconciliation.
*I have witnessed the tears of an elderly "child" who wept over wounds he was unable, or unwilling, to forgive.
In each of these circumstances I have seen people of goodwill who committed a wrong unintentionally, and people of compassion who didn't know how to let go of bitterness. And the error of each of their ways stole years of life and love from them. Sadder, still, is the reality that some of them came to the end of their lives without ever extending or receiving the forgiveness which would have set them free.

Thus, I am making my appeal to each of you "others".
If tomorrow, you're going to be seeing the one involved in your wounding - if you're going to face the one who holds bitterness in their heart toward you - would you please pray today that God will strengthen you through His Spirit to seek and extend and receive and embrace forgiveness?
Please, don't let another day go by without searching out reconciliation.
Please, choose to believe that the one who wronged you didn't do it maliciously - and if they could go back and change things, they would.
Please, understand you might not really know the whole of the story - and if you did, your feelings wouldn't have such a powerful hold.



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