"When he takes him back up to the highway, he had better drop him at least 10 miles the other side of town because I don't want him put out close enough to walk back and murder my children in the middle of the night." THAT, my dear readers, was the comment I made to Mr. B when Grandpa phoned late Saturday afternoon announcing that he'd picked up a hitch-hiker, who seemed to be a pretty alright fellow, and thought I could feed him a hot meal before being taken back up to the highway. I then proceeded to think, "Well, I guess I won't be making an appearance at our home school library open house this evening. I suppose I'll have to phone Mrs. O and schedule a time to drop that curriculum off."
When Grandpa showed up, I was in the house getting prepared to start supper. I stepped out to call in one of the littles. When I saw the back of this "fellow" leaning near the tailgate of Mr.B's truck, I immediately knew it was my younger brother, ..Bo - I'd know that stance anywhere. It was a pleasant surprise, it's been 5+ years since we'd seen each other - the last time we saw him EJ was so young he doesn't remember ever meeting his Uncle ..Bo.
The littles enjoyed listening their Uncle ..Bo's recounts of our early childhood. (Our parent's divorce caused ..Bo and I to be permanently separated at the ages of 11 & 12.) As I listened, I was astonished at our differing perspectives regarding the relationships we had with our family. Growing up I always thought certain individuals in our family strongly preferred ..Bo AND these folks never made any attempt to disguise that preference. Honestly, their blatant and unapologetic preference burned very deep wounds into my little girl heart. After growing up, having my own family, and committing my life to serving Jesus Christ, I thought that maybe I always judged these certain individuals too harshly. After all, it is possible I was looking at all those memories from the perspective of a wounded little girl's heart - not the objective and rational viewpoint of an adult. For a while, I let myself wallow in guilt for my harsh judgments. I believe guilt is an emotion instilled in us by God that helps lead us toward repentance of our sins. I eventually repented and sought forgiveness from the Lord for my negative judgments of these folks. Since listening to Bo's recounts, I am so very happy that I've repented and allowed the Lord to use the healing balm of forgiveness to sooth the wounds in my heart. Why? Because as I listened to Bo's perspective of our childhood I realized that our family not only preferred Bo BUT they outright DESPISED me. Had I failed to forgive and repent of my harsh judgments and unforgivness, the things I learned from ..Bo's memories would have only further rooted and grown the anger and bitterness I once held in my heart towards these individuals. How unattractive is an angry and bitter woman? How pleasant can one's life be when saddled with an angry and bitter wife or mother?
Luke 6:35-38 - "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."
Ezekiel 18:21-22 - "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, and he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live."
Matthew 9:13b "...for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Repenting of my own bitterness, anger and lack of forgiveness has set me free from the bondage certain childhood wounds had caused. Those wounds brought me destruction through very self destructive behaviors. Repentance and forgiveness has brought me life and peace. You see, when we hold on to the hurt, anger, bitterness, resentments, etc. caused by the wounds inflicted upon us by the sins of others, we in turn sin against God. When we allow someone else's sin to control our lives we are in turn allowing their sins to lead us into damnation. My repentance and forgiveness does not excuse the actions of others, BUT it does allow me to leave the past in the past and move forward toward life - a peaceful and abundant life.