I just had three wonderful days with my two sisters visiting me. One from North Carolina and the other from Austin, Texas. I am the middle child (which probably explains a lot) and we each had our differences growing up, although my (8 years) younger sister didn’t have the same “issues” with either of us as my (2 1/2 year) older sister and I had.
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We all three have different ideas about many things, and each of us, separately, has been upset by or upset with each other about one thing or another over the years. But here’s the point: we forgive each other and continue to work on having a good relationship instead of dwelling on whatever thing had upset us.
The important thing for everyone is to be able to forgive automatically so that we can maintain our family (and other) relationships, even through tough times. This is also a biblically correct thing to do, as we are not commanded to ask for forgiveness, but we are commanded to (or, at least, warned we’d better) forgive each other.
Most of us know the “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13, right? “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done”, ….got it? Well, do you remember what Yeshua said after he gave that template for prayer? Let me help you; it’s Matthew 6:14-15:
For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours.
Forgiveness is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, and it is the glue that holds people together when certain acts or words try to tear them apart.
I am so very, very grateful to God for always giving me a forgiving heart, even before I knew him. I was able to reconcile with my mother long before she passed away, and have been able to maintain friendships for decades, more than a handful going all the way back to elementary school, all because I have learned to forgive people.
I know people who have not reconciled with family, and when the opportunity to do so was gone, they realized what they missed. The fact that once someone is dead you can never fix that relationship can often be devastating.
And here is another important fact: forgiving people is not supposed to be a reaction to someone asking for it. You are to forgive those that hurt you whether they ask for it or not!
That’s right- you are to forgive them whether they want you to or not, whether they even care if you do or not. Your forgiveness of them doesn’t have anything at all to do with what is going on between them and God, but it has everything to do with what is going on between YOU and God.
My older sister and I have very different views on many things, especially politics, and we tend to walk gingerly when we discuss them. And often the room starts to heat up, and when that happens we simply agree to not agree. Because, even when things get a little “heated”, we will not allow it to affect our feelings for each other or our relationship because for us, being together is more important than being “right.”
What is important is that you maintain your good relationships, try to reconcile the bad ones, and remember that you don’t need to be right with people but you do need to be right with God.
And the only way to do that is to read the Bible so you know what God wants from you.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!