Two thousand miles away another family member is lying in a hospital bed and will soon be shuttled to a hospice bed. One life holds hope and promise, the other shame and regret.
Like so many others, my brother-in-law carried on the family tradition that was passed down to him. He was a distant, uninvolved father, who later went AWOL, leaving hurting hearts in his wake. All of them grown, a child or two has followed in some of his ways while the others have paved a different path.
Even among siblings who are reared the same, the personality and nature of a person makes a difference in how they respond to difficulties, suffering and rejection. The old adage that a child lives what he learns is largely true, but once we reach adulthood that is no longer an excuse for repeating the damaging patterns with those who come after.
But for those who missed that memo and continue on in the negative traditions, there is always today. Your wrongs may never be righted, but your chains can be broken and if the injured parties are willing, relationships strengthened and healed, and in some cases, built.
It isn’t a given that the end of our lives be a reflection of all our wrongs. Shame and regret can’t heal neither can they save the broken soul. Even in the throes of death, until the last breath is breathed, just like that new life being born into the world, there is a hope and a promise of new life, eternal life, for the one still clinging to their failures. A simple surrender to Jesus is all it takes.
That’s why He came.
“A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out…” Isaiah 42:3
Update: My brother-in-law accepted Christ before he passed away. Praise God!