So, it seems lately I have had a lot of death around me. My wife has had family members pass, former students have had family members pass, church members going home, and others who have dealt with death and expressed their loss on social media.
Death is always hard to handle. However, if we pay attention there is always something for us to learn from it.
I was reflecting on a past experience with a former student at his paternal grandfather’s funeral. My student and his grandfather were very close but, unfortunately, his dad had lost connection with his father for two years prior to his death.
While I was sitting there with his son, the father stepped in and walked slowly to the casket. He looked at his dad, turned around and came to sit next to me and his son. He leaned over to me and thanked me for showing up, but then started to tear up.
I instantly knew what was happening, but didn’t know what to do, except listen when he said “I never had the chance to say sorry.” This was a line I had heard in movies, but now this was real life. How was I to respond? What should I say?
I patted his shoulder and said sorry. However, in my mind I was thinking “Yes you did! You have a cell phone. You have email. You can write a letter. You could have driven to your dad’s house. There were plenty of opportunities, but you were stubborn.” I stayed silent.
I felt bad for this man. I feel bad for many people who end up in this circumstance every day. We never know when life is going to end, which is why it is even more important to attempt to make relationships right.
I emphasized attempt because we won’t always be successful, but that’s ok. It isn’t about the result, it’s the step. We need to take the necessary steps to reconcile the relationship. If the person chooses to ignore your step towards them, that’s on them, not you.
While Christ was on the mountainside he clearly said “If you know someone has something against you, stop your worship or even going to church, quit ignoring the issue, go to them, and fix whatever you did wrong” (New International Bobby Version).
You see, we can’t ignore the fact that people have issues with us and we have to acknowledge that it may be our fault. However, if we wait too long, it may be too late.
Our relationships on this earth are way too important. The grace we give and the peace we share is an example of Christ in our lives. If we fail to fix our relationships that are broken, or even make an attempt, then we fail to answer the call of Christ on the mountainside.
Let us not ignore the broken relationships. May we be bold enough to step forward, courageous enough to speak truth, and humble enough to acknowledge our fault in the matter.
Life is too short to not take the chance. God will honor our steps and maybe, just maybe, the reconciliation will begin.