A family was estranged for years over several insignificant misunderstandings. The mother and her daughter, who lived together, felt resentment. They refused to even celebrate the holidays with the other sister and her family or even talk about the conflict. Eventually, both mother and daughter became ill. The estranged sister and her husband resolved to help them whether they wanted help or not.
They delivered meals, walked the dog and cleaned their house. Gradually the estranged mother and daughter accepted the loving care extended to them. Family members turned back to each other in a relationship that had “become new,” to use St. Paul’s words (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Most of us may never be involved in large-scale repentance activities – such as those in South Africa after apartheid or negotiations between warring countries. Yet repentance and forgiveness are significant in our lives, and they start at home. We are called to turn our hearts and minds back to God and to reconcile ourselves with God and with our fellow creatures.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “Repent and forgive” by Carol Schersten LaHurd in the January/February 2015 Gather magazine.
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