When my wife and I travel to California in a few days to visit with family, it will be an enjoyable reunion. We will visit with my step-mother and two brothers, but one significant person will be missing: my dad. He died this past June at 80 years old. I had not seen my dad very often throughout the years since he and my mother divorced when I was five years old. We talked on the phone occasionally, but not as much as we should have. At the encouragement of my wife, however, I became more intentional about reconnecting with Dad over the last two or three years with visits out to California and more phone calls than I would typically make. I’m glad my wife and I made it a priority to reconnect and enjoy our relationship with Dad. I had no idea he would now be gone.
In 2018 Patrick Reed won the Master’s Golf Tournament. Patrick’s parents, Bill and Jeanette Reed, however, weren’t present at Augusta National to celebrate with him even though they live within blocks of the course. Patrick didn’t want his parents there. A few months earlier when they attempted to follow him at Pinehurst in North Carolina, Patrick and his wife Justine demanded security escort them off the course. According to a Sports Illustrated article, he and his parents became estranged because of a rift that developed between Reed and his family going back six years to 2012 when the parents expressed concern that Patrick, at age 22, was too young to marry Justine. Reed and his fiancé cut off all communication with them from that point on.
I get it that there are two sides to every story, but this is sad. I also get it that normally it’s not one major blow-up that fractures a relationship, but a series of minor offenses that lead to a lifetime of increased alienation. Someone once said, however, “Anger gets you into trouble but pride keeps you there.” That’s so true. Don’t let that happen in your family. Life is too short, and meaningful relationships are too few to permit that kind of tragedy to go on.
If you are currently in a less-than-ideal relationship, I want to encourage you to bury the hatchet (and not in the other person’s body!). First Corinthians 13:5 reminds us, “…love keeps no record of wrongs.” Don’t keep score. Don’t think it’s your assignment to get even. Don’t demand an apology. Forget who was right and who was wrong. Will to forgive regardless of how you feel. Find some way to warmly reach out, and don’t expect an overwhelming response. As Bob Russell puts it in one of his blogs, “Ice takes a while to melt.” The Apostle Paul gives good counsel for living in harmony with one another when he says this in Romans 12:17-21 -- “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
If you have tense relationships with relatives, I challenge you to put the above commands into practice. Maybe God will use your initiative to bring about reconciliation faster than you dreamed possible. It’s certainly worth a try, and you’ll be glad you did. I am. More importantly, you’re going to stand before God someday, and He taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Blessings to you,