Would you like broken relationships in your family to be restored? One way to see progress is by following the instructions outlined in Hebrews 12.
I have been out of touch with some of my extended family for decades. Misunderstandings, indifference and hurts all played their part in dividing us, and since so many years have passed it wasn’t likely we would ever come together again.
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble …” (Hebrews 12:12-15 ESV).
The first step: Strengthen and straighten
I started by working on my “drooping hands” and “weak knees.” Where I’d given up, I renewed my commitment to love. And where the road linking me to my cousins had become twisted and full of obstacles, I added my prayers to my grandmother’s for unity in her family. Then I went to work.
Thank God for Facebook! I searched through family members’ pages and found links to others. It really motivated me follow through when I discovered my cousin Jerry’s grandchildren looked a lot like members of my family. Uploading a bunch of historical family photos got the ball rolling, and soon different relatives uploaded photos of their own.
The second step: Strive for peace
We had our first cousin reunion in John Day, OR, a year ago, and got along splendidly. Last week we had our second gathering, adding another previously out-of-touch cousin to the mix when we met at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis, WA. Remarkably, when she showed up I learned she lives right there in Chehalis!
The tricky part in building relationships is when the dialog goes places we may not like, for instance, with strongly held political or religious views. It’s encouraging to see others are working on strengthening and straightening things out, too. And so far, we’re all striving for that “peace with everyone” the scripture talks about.
Finally: Continually remove the bitter roots
As I ate lunch with my formerly long lost cousin, her joy and excitement matching my own, I knew I’d gained a priceless relationship. It takes vigilance to keep bitterness from getting a foothold, but I sure enjoy the rewards for all the hard work.
Let love rule over all.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis