May 5, 2019
LOVE OTHERS AS I HAVE LOVED YOU
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
This last weekend I was in Yosemite National Park for my father’s yearly family reunion. I have been going to Yosemite for many years and have a great affection for the natural beauty of the park. There are quite a lot of Hortons, Pratts and Ternes (the three main branches of my extended family) who gather for this event from all over the country. I am not particularly good at keeping up with people whom I do not see on a regular basis, so this reunion gives me the chance to connect to my extended family in a way I never could alone. Some of my strongest familial relationships have been borne out of this time in Yosemite, and I would not trade the time spent for anything. Yet, this year I ended up in an argument with one of my aunts.
Before going to Yosemite, an email had been sent that bent me out of shape, and I went with arguments and anger ready to go. We had an intense conversation with no yelling but high stakes that ended with me walking away shaking with fury and a clear decision that I would not be attending the reunion next year. I returned to my tent, to my wife and daughter, and explained the situation as things had become. Kim did her best to defuse me but all I could be was mad. I decided to hang out in the tent while Kim and Reyna went for a walk. As I sat there and fumed, arguing with the phantom of my aunt, God slapped me. Is this what I commanded you to do? Is this how My son treated you when you sinned against Him, against Me? Will this anger profit you, your witness, or My Kingdom? Is your “pride” so important that you would create Hell to defend it? No? Then why have you let Satan take you by the nose and lead you here?
I prayed. What else can you do when confronted with God’s conviction? I prayed that He would remove my anger, release my grip on my “pride,” and to give me the strength to love others as He loves me, and He did. I felt an immediate release of tension, my God had rescued me from my own choices of self-destruction. I knew that there would still be consequences for my choices, and that I would still not be attending next year’s reunion, but God had given me a chance at reconciliation with my aunt that my anger would never have let me have. I spent the evening considering my apology, and wrote a long email that spelled out why I felt, how I felt, and what I apologized for. I did not demand her to apologize, nor blame her for the argument, but instead simply recognized the hurt I had caused and apologized for it.
I do not know if my email will have the desired effect, nor that my aunt and I will be completely reconciled, but I do have a clear feeling that God is pleased that I took the step. My heart isn’t completely healed of the hurt, and feelings of resentment still linger, but I know that as I pray God will continue to ease my pain and help me to focus on the future. I thank God that he didn’t leave me to destroy myself or my family over this, and that He will use it as a part of my testimony.