My uncle died two days ago. He was my father’s brother and only 4 month older than my mom. That really isn’t what has me so sad, I know it should and my heart breaks for my dad because now he is the only one left.
I guess I am really lying when I say he is the only one left. There is extended family and my cousins are still living, but we don’t have contact with them. Part of it stems from me letting my mouth run away with me. I said something that I shouldn’t have to my cousins. It’s not a moment I am proud of and I did sincerely apologize, but the damage was done and apparently grudges are a part of life for this side of the family. That should be quite clear since my mouth got me in trouble mainly because my father’s family essentially cut him off once he decided not to return to Texas and then really cut him off once he married my mom. My grandmother’s side of the family were a bit mean and would like to pretend that we don’t exist. I made it known that fact was noticed and got called a few choice names and was kicked off the family Facebook page.
There were things that my grandmother and my uncle did to my parents and I that were uncalled for, rude and even tried to cheat us, but I point out bias and I am the bad person (insert shrug of the shoulders here). I have forgiven them, but it makes me wonder how hardened their hearts are/were to have behaved that way. When my second oldest cousin called to tell my dad that his brother had passed away she couldn’t even remember my mom’s name when my mom answered the phone. Does that tell you anything?
My dad and I just by being his daughter were always the bad seeds and I had the additional black mark of being raised Catholic and a Yankee. It hurt and I know that it hurt my dad more than he ever admitted. Yet there have been shot gun weddings, divorces and children who have been MIA for one reason or another and in our family no matter the trial we manage to hold it together, and we are the ones who are shunned.
The lesson in all of this has been even if you have forgiven those who hurt you it doesn’t always mean they are repentant for their misdeeds and even if you apologize for your own stupidity it doesn’t stop the other party from holding a grudge to the grave.
“You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”–Leviticus 19:17-18
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”–Ephesians 4:32
I haven’t been able to write lately. I am not sure why it happened, nor have I found a solution to help the next time it happens. It could very well be because I have so much going on in my head that to try and “put pen to paper” it daunting to say the least, or it could be that I am just lazy…..pick one I won’t be offended.
What spurred me on to write today is something that I lament about since my children were originally raised Catholic till they were at least 11 and then accepted Jesus at a Skillet concert when they had an alter call. That’s not the part I lament about, I regret that while I raised my children to know Jesus they did not accept Him as their Lord and Savior until they were almost in their teens. I see other mothers at church who pride-fully tell you that their children accepted Jesus at 3. The mothers and fathers read article upon article about raising children so that they flourish in their faith as adults, or are so worried that they are being indoctrinated in the ways of the world if they go to public school (and in some instances in private and parochial schools). Then I think all I wanted was for my kids to love Jesus and for me to be an example of someone who took the sacrifice that He made seriously.
I wonder if too much pressure is put on children and then later on we find that we have a generation of prodigals or backsliders. There is nothing wrong with having them learn verses and be able to recite them, or if you home school teaching lessons about stories in the Bible, however I think the panic that is sometimes expressed that one lesson or practice in school or club or group will undo everything that you have taught them so far.
My boys were not necessarily evangelists in the sense that they could preach the gospel chapter and verse to their unsaved friends, but they most assuredly could reach out in a way that worked for them. My one son was a disciple by simply sharing Christian music with his friends. The kids that were listening to Nicki Minaj, Adele and Ed Sheeran were exposed to Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Need to Breathe. They realized that the music was good even if “that Jesus dude is mentioned” My other son would sit at lunch and read his Bible. He didn’t speak much and never forced anyone to listen to scripture, but by his example he was discipling in the manner that worked for him. The kicker is that my boys attended public school from the time they were 5 till they graduated from High School and very little of what we tried to instill in them was undone in any lesson. I won’t say that clarification wasn’t needed or enforcement of what we believed versus the world, but their faith was not shaken and their resolve was not lessened.
That does not mean that my kids have not made epic mistakes……then again we all have even the saved at an early age (your epicness might not reach the heights of mine or vice versa), but the ability to return “to the fold” was what they knew and what they did. So maybe the key is to lighten up a little, work with their strengths, teach them how to turn a secular teaching into a way to praise God and pray instead of worrying, because worry is a poor excuse for prayer.