For the better part of a decade-plus, I let anger and bitterness fill my heart when it came to a particular family member. The reason for my anger is neither here nor there but suffice to say it was Ironic that despite the fact I was harboring a grudge, I knew that the result of their actions played out to my benefit. It laid the very foundation of the man I am today, and I am very proud of that man. Despite this indisputable fact, I continued to curse the decision and the way it was revealed to me.
Hebrews 12:15 – “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
Not acknowledging my bitterness and true feelings during this time robbed me of a family bond that should never be broken. My anger cast a giant shadow on my very being. The rift between that family member and myself by its very nature spilled over to that family member’s immediate family. In essence, I cut myself off from them while not acknowledging that I was doing exactly what I was doing. I missed the birth of many children and the growth of others. I became a stranger to an entire branch of the family tree. I can never put into perspective what those losses have had on me as a person, but I know it could not have been positive. Family is always family, and through anger and bitterness, I had forgotten that.
A recent health issue was the catalyst for me to re-examine and reenergize my faith. Through prayer, the Lord spoke to me and guided me to realize that the very lack of forgiveness is sin. That same lesson is taught to us in “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Matthew 6: 12-15
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.‘ 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
As explained in Bible.org href=”https://bible.org/article/issue-forgiveness-sermon-mount”>https://bible.org/article/issue-forgiveness-sermon-mount it appears that what Jesus is saying is that God, intending to love the unforgiving child, refuses to forgive him in an attempt to get the child to come face to face with His sin of an unforgiving heart. The person who is unwilling to forgive will soon meet his Equal. The goal of this is to re-establish the broken relationships between God and the people involved.
For me, this realization was like a bright light shining onto the darkness in my heart. The next day, I picked up the phone and called that family member to start the healing process and mend the rift between us. I expressed how wrong I had been and how I wanted us to go back to being a family again. It was an emotional call for both of us, but upon saying the words, I want us to be a family again I could feel the weight lifted. My heart had been released of the bitterness it had stubbornly held for over a decade. I understood that I had finally done the right thing. After all, a family is a family and nothing should break that bond.