“If only I had been kinder to your mother and had spent more time with you children.”
So said the aging father of a close friend of mine during a recent family visit. How tragic, to be living the latter years of life plagued with regret; plagued by the “IF ONLY‘S” of the past.
Tell me, are you viewed by your family as:
BRITTLE? – “I really can‘t do it like that!”
SELFISH? – “I don‘t have time.”
CENSORIOUS? – “How could you do such a thing?”
BITTER? – “I may forgive… but I can never forget!”
BENDING? – “Why don‘t we do it your way?”
MAGNANIMOUS? – “Let‘s do whatever will help you the most.”
COMPLIMENTARY? – “I am proud of you.”
FORGIVING? – “Ah… forget it… It‘s OK. No problem.”
Is it not true that the validity of our Christian experience is forged, tested, and revealed within the confines of intimate family relationships as in no other arena?
Children still have a choice as to whether they will follow Christ or not, as rebellion is often expressed among the progeny of the finest of parents. (Adam and Eve had perfect “parents” and still chose to rebel.)
Yet our goal must be to reflect Christ to our family in such a way that whatever their choice, at least our conscience is clear on how we related to them. Could we not seek to mirror Paul’s achievement:
“My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” (Acts 23:1b)
So, tell me: Are you BRITTLE, SELFISH, CENSORIOUS, or BITTER toward your family? If you are, then you too may be plagued in your latter years by the “IF ONLY‘S” of the past.
If, however you are BENDING, MAGNANIMOUS, COMPLIMENTARY, and FORGIVING, you may well anticipate fond memories and mutual affirmation in the latter years.