By: Dr. Michael Gardner
Our lives are filled with relationships with other people. Some of them are only casual friendships. But each of us is connected to family members and friends with whom we share deeper bonds.
We don't get to choose what kind of family we are born into. Some of us have enjoyed loving family ties, and others have endured negative experiences. And some, maybe most, family relationships are a mixture of both.
Families are full of human frailty because we are all human. There is no such thing as a perfect family. I love the wisdom of Pat Conroy in Prince of Tides, “I learned … to love my mother and father in all their flawed, outrageous humanity, and in families, there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”
I am often reminded that we really have two families - the one we're born with, and the one that we choose for ourselves. Some of those relationships last a lifetime, and some change over time. But they are important.
In every relationship, sometimes people display their “outrageous, flawed humanity,” and sometimes we do too. But real relationships are worth the time to seek forgiveness and reconciliation with an open mind and heart.
The Bible focuses on taking time to seek such healing and hope. When Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18:20, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who has wronged me? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not only seven times, but seventy times seven.”
And in our text from Philippians this Sunday, we find these words, “I encourage Euodia and I encourage Syntyche to agree in the Lord. And I ask you, my true friends, to help these sisters in Christ.”
We live in a world filled with messy relationships. But Philippians 4 has this advice about how to focus on healing rather than being stuck in resentment. “What so ever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable - If anything is excellent or worthy of praise – fix your mind on these things.”(Philippians 4:8)
I hope to see you all Sunday at 8:30, 9:45 or 11 as we share one another’s presence, and the reconciling presence of God!
If you would like to revisit a past "Beyond Believing" article, please refer to the archive.