Stephen A. Peterson
In the autumn of 1977, two sisters, Mona, then 19 years old and Beverly, then 17 years old got into an argument over the disposition of their grandfather’s estate following his death. Beverly vowed never to speak to Mona ever again for as long as she lived. She kept her promise for nearly 30 years.
Then in the spring of 2006 Beverly suffered a stroke and was immediately hospitalized. While in the hospital, she met a priest who talked to her about mercy, compassion and forgiveness. After three meetings with the priest, Beverly decided to forgive her sister and accept Jesus Christ into her life. Beverly immediately requested and got some paper and a pen to write her estranged sister, telling her that she found the love of God and that she wanted to reconcile the differences that existed between the two of them. Furthermore, she invited her sister to come to the hospital to visit her at any time.
After completing her letter to her sister, Beverly experienced great relief as well as a sense of freedom that she had finally forgiven her sister after so many years of separation, non-communication, and suspiciousness. She sent the letter priority mail then waited for a written answer or telephone call from a sister she so eagerly wanted to talk to about everything that went on with her over the years. 5, 10, 15 days passed. Then a nurse brought Beverly a letter—her own letter. “Return to sender” was stamped on the front and back of the pink, rose smelling envelop—“Addressee deceased.” Stunned and in shock all Beverly could do was to cry profusely and wish she could tell her sister how much she missed not seeing and talking to her.
2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Ephesians 4: 26). Paul’s statement though 2,000 years old is wise counsel even in today’s world. It is really the solution for dealing with any strained relationship no matter the basis for the disagreement.
We should never allow long periods of time to pass before a disagreement or argument is reconciled. It will only be more difficult to deal with as time goes by. If there exists some broken or bruised relationship in your life, as God to help you work through it as quickly as possible. Regardless of how difficult the conflict may appear, God can help you work through the problem. Say what needs to be said to straighten out the problem. Generally, a solution t o a problem begins with the simple phrase—“I’m sorry”.
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I did this a time or two--had a falling out with a friend or family member that escalated terribly. I wrote a few letters, which, thankfully, unlike your sisters in the article, produced stronger bonds than before. One recipient told me that it had gone so far she didn't know how to stop it but my letter did. The Bible says if we have a problem with another, we should leave the altar where we're praying and go make it right. Great article. Beth