How do you continue to love when you have been betrayed by family members, in many ways, and very often? I am a Christian and now I am finding myself numb toward my sisters. How could a Christian get beyond that numbness? Prayer, fasting and meditating on God’s Word is my answer, but I need that human advice on this matter.
Numb in North Philly
Dear Numb in North Philly:
I get the sense that you may want me to tell you to disown shun your sisters in order to deal with the way that they have treated you. However, since you have identified yourself as a Christian, I feel compelled to give you a practical answer and one in “your language.” A practical approach would be to talk to your sisters and tell them what they have done and how it has made you feel. Please focus on the most recent transgressions and not the ones that occurred in 1978! Perhaps the acts that you define as betrayal, they may deem as acceptable. Give them an opportunity to explain themselves and to ask for forgiveness. Tell them that you forgive them even if they DO NOT admit to any wrongdoing. Your next step would be to love them with wisdom. If they are prone to gossip, do not confide in them. If arguments are bound to jump off at family gatherings, attend the gatherings but don’t stay long. Now, since you identified yourself as a Christian, I will give some biblical advice. You must forgive your sisters and not hold their wrongs against them. You cannot expect God to forgive you if you are unwilling to forgive them, or anyone else for that matter. Secondly, you may want to look inwardly and think about how many times Christ has forgiven you. Then compare your response to your sisters to Christ’s response to you. He still washed Judas’ feet even though he knew that Judas was about to betray him. That brings me to my final point. Christians are commanded to love—even our enemies. If you cannot love your sisters as friends, you are still commanded to love them as enemies and to be kind to them.
(Featured illustration Jim McHugh. Photo © Canstock Photo)