Make the Best of a Surprise Visit
I did not hear from Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, for two weeks. Yesterday, he called and said that their daughter surprised them with a visit last weekend. She had decided to come home in person for Ruby’s birthday as a living, breathing, birthday card. After flying into Regina, she rented a car and drove to Melville on Friday evening. Ed, Ruby and the dog were pleasantly surprised and excited at her visit. Their weekend was a blur of activities and visiting. Before they turned around, they were waving good-bye, with Ed and Ruby settling back into the usual quietness of their home.
Not all visits home, are full of joy. Family members may not always mix well. Sometimes you cannot live with other siblings. All families have their times of stress and joy. Families do even crack and split with some regularity. Selfishness, lack of respect, grumbling and disgust infect family relationships. Only in heaven will people live happily in a perfect family. Here and now, members of families experience the best and the worst of relationships. It is not a new situation as Caine killed his brother Able in the first family. It is never easy to forgive and forget and get along with other family members or anyone else.
For some folks, nothing disgusts them, as much as, the stupid actions of a sibling. The same parents produce vastly different children in temperament and behavior. In the Bible, we have a famous story of an older brother who loathed and rejected his younger brother. This older brother was a stay-at-home and work with dad kind of guy. Did he resent it through the years? Was he thoroughly disgusted when his younger brother asked for his share of the estate while their dad was still alive and well? After his younger brother had received his share of his father’s estate, he took off and went to a distant country. There he squandered his wealth in wild living. While his brother was away wasting his money, his father lovingly longed for him and waited in hope of his return. His father’s love frustrated the older brother for his feeling was that his younger brother needed to be treated like one who was no longer part of the family.
While the younger brother was away in the distant country, his money ran out, and a severe famine hit the whole country. The only job he could find was feeding pigs. When he was penniless and hungry, he remembered how well his father treated his workers. He decided to return home to work for his father. He felt that he was no longer worthy to be treated as a son. His father, however, welcomed him back as a son. The father threw a party to celebrate his son’s return home.
The older brother refused to join the party. He was angry and resentful at the celebration his father extended to his squandering brother. His father went to him and invited him to join the party and welcome home his brother.
The moral: God is waiting to welcome back those that have deserted him. He is also ready to challenge those too self-righteous to forgive a sibling. Forgiveness is an undeserved gift.