Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Be Reconciled


Matthew 5:23-24
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

'Tis the season for political debate.  The media is rampant with discordant opinions as the presidential candidates from both parties flex their muscles and propose their ideas and visions for a better America to the prospective voters.  For some, this is simply a sideshow at a circus, a mere distraction or nuisance at best.  For others, like me, we truly stay engaged with the entire process, wanting to know the ins and outs of each and every candidate on both sides of the aisle in order to develop a better perspective.

It is at times like this that I am more grateful than ever to live in a country where free speech is still protected by the Constitution.  Yes.  I know.  There are those who consistently try to circumvent our constitutional guarantees, and it makes me wonder if these folks have even read this very document that allows them to rant and rave in all their thunder and glory.

In too many countries, freedom of speech is not allowed, unless your goal is prison or death.  What would these persons do if they suddenly found themselves living in one of these tyrannical pits?  But that is a post for another time . . .

The point I set out to make is based on Matthew's Gospel quoted above.  My family is, to say the least, politically diverse.  We all plan to gather together, as many families do, at Thanksgiving.  After a recent political exchange on Facebook, a heated one at that, I lay down the law:  Freedom of speech is respected, but there will be no political discussions during the Thanksgiving festivities!

My son, Daniel, is in full agreement.  "That's exactly how Grandpa would want it," he tells me.

Yes, my Dad . . . The peacemaker, the reconciler.  Placing his gift before the altar only when his heart was in the right place.  Reminding us always to be respectful of one another's views.  Honoring us by always listening to our concerns privately, offering his gentle guidance, and keeping altercations to a minimum during family gatherings, that our memories would not be tarnished by words better left unspoken.

I miss my father, more than words could ever or will ever express.  And I hope that I carry within me his resolute love for family and dedication to one another no matter how the whimsical winds of political storms may blow.

We are family.  We are blood.  We are Americans.

We are one in the Spirit.

We are one in the Lord.

~
Are you reconciled to your neighbor?

Prayer:  Father, it's so easy for us to get on our high horse and tout our agenda without regard for the opinions and feelings of others.  May we make all our earthly decisions on the basis of Biblical truths, and be reconciled to one another, for Your sake.  In Jesus' name, we pray.  Amen.

13 comments:

  1. Holidays should be a time to enjoy one another and give thanks. They should be festive and happy. A lot of the reason why my husband and I no longer celebrate holidays with his parents and siblings is because we were no fans of the constant turmoil and drama that surrounds them. I want holidays and life to be as peaceful and happy as possible. Personally I stay away from the political agendas as well.

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  2. Holidays should be a time to enjoy one another and give thanks. They should be festive and happy. A lot of the reason why my husband and I no longer celebrate holidays with his parents and siblings is because we were no fans of the constant turmoil and drama that surrounds them. I want holidays and life to be as peaceful and happy as possible. Personally I stay away from the political agendas as well.

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    1. I hear you, Kathy. It's sad when the drama takes over and we simply can't enjoy holidays in peace and harmony. You are wise to remove your family from the extended one at times when you are wanting to enjoy peace and celebration.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. Martha, I so agree with your words. There's so much ugly, so much discord when it comes to politics (and religion!). As much as I desire to know where candidates on both sides stand on various issues, I struggle with how much to believe what they are saying. Some times I'd really like to ask the candidates, on an individual level: "How are you going to get along with those you will be working with/leading?" "What are you truly going to be able to do to follow through on all these 'promises'?"

    I love your dad's ability to keep things civil and respectful. There's far too much of the opposite today.

    It saddens me to realize how little most Americans know about the Constitution. Such as, there is no such thing as separation of church and state. Yes, I've read and studied the constitution...hard not to as a undergraduate majoring in political science! :)

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Oh, yes, Kim, in having read the Constitution, you are a woman after my own heart! I recall having to explain to a younger friend on Facebook that "separation of church and state" was NOT in the Constitution, but lifted from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend regarding why there would be no established religion in the U.S.
      I like the questions you would pose to the candidates, too. Very thoughtful and exactly what they should be able to answer if they think they are qualified to run for office. Most of the time, it's a promise of a chicken in every pot rather than real solutions to overwhelming problems facing our country.
      My Dad was so awesome as a peacemaker. I wish he was still with us . . .
      Love and blessings!

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  4. Some of the hardest *divisions* happen within families - and what a tragedy. Getting along sometimes takes great work, as personalities and perspectives can be so different. As my siblings and I have joined together in new caregiving roles for our parents, and now Mom since Dad died, we work very hard to keep our hearts attuned to harmony. Sometimes we have to go to great lengths to communicate and agree, but it is a goal worth pursuing. I hope that in doing so, we not only honor our parents, but our Lord.

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Sharon, you are so spot-on! When we can lay our differences aside and join together for a common goal, it can go a long way to heal within the family. And yes, I do believe by doing so, your siblings and you are honoring both your parents and the Lord. As He said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." We may have to remind ourselves to do that each and every day, and maybe, each and every moment, but it is more than worth the effort.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Good rule for holiday gatherings Martha! I agree. Freedom of speech is good, but sometimes it's best to keep our thoughts to ourselve. Family gatherings are one of those times. Letting love prevail! Blessings to you my friend!

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    1. Yes, Deb, letting love prevail! My Dad set such a model for family harmony during the holidays, and as you can tell from the post, I've definitely taken my cue from him. Life is too short to create and/or tolerate strife within the family. Lord knows, the world gives us enough of that!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Hi Martha! I love that your son agreed with your decision, and that he mentioned his grandfather. What an impression he must have made in your family! I love that your dear father's legacy is a peaceful one, and so respected.
    My goodness, we should be thankful that day, not full of anger. My family has sharp philosophical differences too, but we try to joke around them and let them lay. Why stir up a hornets nest? It's not like anyone will change their mind!
    Peace be with you,
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil, I love that my son agreed because of his grandfather, too; they were so close, and Daniel learned so much from my Dad as he was growing up. It is a blessing to realize how his legacy continues into future generations.
      It's great if you can joke about the differences - that's a gift! Unfortunately, some of us, myself included, can get riled up when called into question, so it's better, as you say here, not to stir the hornets nest! My Dad didn't always agree with me, but he always respected my point of view as I'm sure you can tell from the post. I sure miss him!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. I have three kids and one point one was conservative, one liberal and one independent. all from us! LOL. Anyway been interesting watching them grow and discuss and be open to new ideas and all are more one the same wavelength now than ever. but I do have some nervousness about Thanksgiving - one never knows. LOL Have a great weekend Martha.

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    1. No, one never knows when it comes to the holidays, Jean. If the subject of politics is brought up, though, I can guarantee the culprit will be my mother. Dad was always able to stop her in her tracks, but of course, he's no longer here to do so.
      And my! What a diverse tribe you have! Glad they can discuss things civilly. That's a blessing!
      Love and blessings!

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