It’s Never Too Late
I have a distinct memory of mocking my mom in front of her friends.
I was an obnoxious teen, full of myself, and thought I was brighter than a box of bulbs. My mom only had a Grade 8 education, and she used a word – it was “feasible” – in a way that I, with my Grade 11 education at that point, believed was laughably incorrect.
I remember two things from that day so many years ago: first, I was actually wrong, for she was using it correctly, and second, the pained look in her face at my disrespect and belittlement.
My mom died in 2018 after a long and debilitating battle with a horrible condition called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Her body tightened up, shut down, and she slowly died over a period of agonizing years. This was fortunate for me. Not because I lost my mom – I miss her still and continue to be amazed by this simple woman of God – but because it gave me time to have the conversations to make things right before it was too late.
And we did. We talked long and deep. We talked silly things and laughed. We talked hard things. We talked honestly about living at peace with each other and forgiving so that nothing is left unreconciled. I didn’t want the altar of worship I approach – and serve at as a pastor – to be compromised by bitterness, broken relationships, or hardness of heart as Jesus said in Matthew 5:23-24.
I don’t take for granted the grace of time and perspective I was given with my mom. When we finally said goodbye for the last time, it was with deep tears of sadness, sorrow, lament and joy at life well-lived, a finish line hit well (even in a wheelchair), and a relationship marked by forgiveness and hope.
So, while I still look back at my stupidity and arrogance and shake my head, it does not chase my thoughts or make me toss in my sleep – I am free, and I could set her free.
It’s Never Too Late
How is your relationship with your mom? Is there anything that needs to be made right?
None of us are perfect. We are all human. The hope of Christ for the believer moves us toward a rightness of relationship, and too many of us are dogged by relational regrets, words we can’t take back, actions we can’t undo, and silences we have not broken with words of repentance and forgiveness. Left unreconciled, we unwittingly pass on brokenness to the next generation – and who wants that? When we reconcile, it models a way of life – true life – for those little ones watching us and who will likely in some way wound us too.
So, how is your relationship with your mom? Do you still have time with her? Then receive the gift it provides, suck it up, Buttercup, and have the humility and courage to make it right.
After They Are Gone
Some of us, however, carry baggage with a parent that we didn’t have time – or take the time – to reconcile. They’re gone, and you never talked it out and made it right. What then? Do we just carry that heavy suitcase forever and everywhere we go?
Thank God, no! If the Holy Spirit brings something to mind – perhaps something like my mockery of my mom – it’s for freedom’s sake. The Spirit invites you to confession, perhaps with a friend, counselor, or even a walk through a cemetery where you talk it out. But, most definitely, the Spirit’s invitation is to leave it at the cross where the price for all our sin and shame was borne, and redemption was won.
The truth is we all have attitudes and actions in our stories that we’ll never be able to make right with everyone we’ve wronged. But, Jesus is alive, and he hears and comforts and will take you to the Father and make it right. Jesus is the faithful High Priest who empathizes with our weakness, did not sin, and by his cross and resurrection, gives us confidence to stand before the throne of God “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Don’t carry any longer what he has carried away. And, don’t pass on the heavy suitcase to the next generation.