Have you heard hurtful words from someone you love? Have you said the hurtful words? I've done both. The last time my mom was in my house I said terrible things to her. As soon as I said them, I wanted to take them back. It was too late. The damage was done. The pain was real. Time and again I called her on the phone. "Hi Mom. It's me. I called to say I love you."
She responded with, "I love you too," but hardly said another word.
One day my sister, Montie, called to tell me our mother was dying. She said, "Mama asked where her Susie was."
Tears welled up in my soul. The woman who didn't seem to forgive me wanted to see me? I left my home in California to go to her bedside in a South Texas hospital. When Mama saw me her face brightened. "I'm glad you came," she smiled.
I spent a few days with her. She, Montie, and I read our favorite Bible stories and sang the old hymns. "We've come a long way," Mama said. I knew she spoke of her visit to my home. Tears trailed down my cheeks.
"I'm sorry I was disrespectful to you. Will you forgive me?"
"Of course I forgive you. I love you." The wall of conflict fell between us. What joy! What peace!
Another time my husband and I received the hurtful words. Resentment filled John's heart. I prayed for forgiveness and reconciliation. "I don't want to forgive. I don't want it fixed," he said. Still I prayed. I prayed for five years.
Easter is all about forgiveness, and today I am thankful that God answered the prayer for reconciliation of a family relationship. The wall between John and his daughter fell down. Yesterday the woman who is a top executive where she works cooked the most delicious ham dinner I've ever tasted for her dad and brought it from the bay area to our home in Sacramento. She served us like we were royalty. Reflections of yesterday remind me of what Jesus did when He washed the disciples' feet. He told His friends, "If I, your Lord, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." John 13:14.
Foot washing is an example of service. In Mark 9:35 Jesus said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." Jesus, in His humility, was servant of all, and as we believe and trust Him, we become more like Him. We become His hands and feet, His light and life in a dark world.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for what you did on the cross to bring us forgiveness and peace. Thank you for answered prayer and restored relationships. Thank you for your love that penetrates resentment and pain. We love you. Amen.