Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but eventy-seven times…”Matthew 18:21-22
How can one simple 6 letter word hold so much emotion in its letters? It is also the way people say it in a sentence. Sometimes it is said with a heavy and exhausting breath. Sometimes there is an edge of a blade ripping through it as it leaves someone’s lips. Other times it is a sad quiver on the lip.
Just like everything else sin touches, family can be a complicated, emotional, pain in the butt that we want to just get away from. Looking at my own family, I see good, and I see skeletons. I can happily and thankfully say that my immediate family has always functioned on a healthier level than I have seen of some. We get along, for the most part, going on vacations together, having family game nights, confiding in one other and as I look back the fights or arguments, clearly as between my brother and me, are just a small blip on our family story.
And then there is my extended family. Before I say anything, I want to express how much I love ALL of my extended family–on both sides of the tree. Nothing I say here is out of hate, but out of love.
In my extended and beyond extended family, I have seen moments of betrayal, of harsh words and broken relationships. I have seen sickness crept in and took away life. I have seen and experienced seeds of green envy and knee-crippling grief. I even have an aunt, who at one point tried to get me to do something I wasn’t supposed to do and lie about it to my parents. I never did it. I, being the good loyal daughter I am, would go and tattle on her. (She and I laugh about it now!)
That is the word I would use to describe many sides and facets of my family. But I believe many of us would agree that many families would use that same word. The cracks and craters that live underneath the surface are everywhere in all families. That is what it means to live in a sinful world. The brokenness is the sin. Thankfully the cracks and craters don’t have just to sit there and get bigger. There is a way to heal them. We can’t do it on our own. It isn’t like a broken bone where we can grow new bone cells and heal the wounds. No. We need more than that.
Do you know the Japanese have an interesting way of filling the cracks in something broken like pottery? It is called Kintsugi. It is where they take Gold and fill the cracks to make something new and beautiful. The take something outside of the traditional building materials and use that to fix the bowl. Jesus is our gold inlay.
Think about it. Who can come in and fix what is truly broken? God. He sent his only Son to die for us. Jesus is our gold inlay. Jesus is the only way for us to look past the hurt and the brokenness of our family and truly find healing. God is the reason my brother, and I don’t rip each other’s throats out anymore. We allowed God to mend us. When you allow God to come in and repair that is where you find the hardest and most freeing word — Forgiveness. I have seen a lot of in my family that the outside world would deem unforgivable, but with God, all things can be forgiven if you just reach out.
Today in Annie’s book she leaves us with this:
You can be brave enough to love your family well even if your family isn’t always healthy.page 99 of 100 Days to Brave
So my challenge to you. If you are holding on to something, someone in your family did to you. Seek forgiveness, because in forgiveness is where true freedom comes from and that freedom is Jesus Christ.