For two weeks, Jake and I have enjoyed the company of all of our adult children and grandchildren in Montreat.
Family reunions can be a mixed bag and our reunions are especially muddled up. There are six, or is it more? Let me count: Canada, Japan, Spain, Brazil, Ethiopia, Bolivia (in our hearts) and the USA. Seven countries represented.
Along with the mix of various cultures and languages is the assortment of personality types and all our shared and separate histories.
As with all family reunions, there are many opportunities to get irritated. Just speaking for myself, it can be challenging.
I am SO grateful for God’s grace.
The weekend before our reunion began, I had a conflict in my heart against a friend B.
I was bothered by my fear of him, remembering specific words and actions in the past and the pain I’d felt.
It was obvious that he had changed, and I thought I’d forgiven him, so why was I still attached to this history, these grudges, this fear?
And it was not just with B. Also with H. and S. (Made up initials so don’t try to guess who.)
What is underneath this? I asked the Lord. Show me the root of this fear.
I spent some time journaling and reading the Bible.
The word ‘resentment’ popped out at me.
Yes. It is true. I have a problem with ongoing resentment with B. and the others.
But how can I be rid of it? I asked the Lord. I cannot change my heart. I have been hurt repeatedly and deeply. I am wounded, Lord, so of course, I am afraid, offended, resentful. Aren’t I entitled to my reactions?
Bingo. Entitlement. That’s it. That is the root of my hypersensitivity.
I’d never seen it like this before.
I have a sense of entitlement to be treated well, to be respected, understood, accepted.
Therefore, when you fail to respect me, you hurt me and I have the right to be afraid of you and withdraw and resent you and punish you by speaking badly of you behind your back.
I’m not talking about real abuse. I’m talking about little things that I keep on my grudge list.
It is ugly.
If I am honest, I have this sense of entitlement in varying degrees with most relationships in my family.
Oh, Lord, this is bad.
What can you do with a heart like mine?
It was a sad day. I didn’t believe I could change, but I trusted God would do something.
I trusted He would meet my deepest needs for respect and acceptance, so I would not need to try to get them from B., H., S., or anyone else.
A few days later, I noticed a lightness in my spirit. A peace. A new desire to give respect, understanding, acceptance, forgiveness to B. and others. A freedom from resentment. A slowness to take offense. Less fear and more love.
Wow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The greatest miracle is the miracle of a changed heart.
It’s just what I needed to be ready for these weeks of intense and wonderful family reunion.
Today was a great day, celebrating Daughter #1’s birth 42 years ago.
How can I thank God for all His grace and blessing through my beautiful family?