"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what God has promised."
~ Hebrews 10:35, 36
This morning I woke up early (because today I am off from hospice and have no other responsibilities to focus on!), and found myself thinking about one of my nieces. She is an amazing, single-mom, focused on raising her children, and finding ways to be present for both her mom and her dad as well. Her oldest son was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2017, immediately suffered an injury before even having had the opportunity to play a single game, and last year was waived from the team.
She also lost a son who suffered from a seizure disorder as a young child. You can say that my niece has had a number of "ups and downs."
One of the most amazing lessons that she has embraced through it all is that she has focused on teaching all her children that your worth and value does not depend on anyone else, and that claiming your inner truth is the most important thing you can do.
What she has experienced in her life has served her well as a mother, teacher, and leader. Recently while talking with her about one of her children, she shared that she was hoping that "all her children," would learn that they are a person worth being loved and called to give love, not because anyone says so.
Sometimes recognizing this for any of us can be a struggle, but because each of us are created out of love and live in the embrace of God who did not hesitate to send Jesus for us, our being "good and worthy of love," is not dependent on any human being.
It's as if each day we have to remind ourselves, "I am being loved by an unconditional, unlimited love that empowers me to be the person that God has created me to be."
It's a lesson that, not just my niece is teaching to her children, but one that we must work to understand each day. The more you can come to realize this, the more you will be able to forgive those who have hurt you and love them in their brokenness.
Without a deep feeling of self-respect, you cannot forgive and will always feel anger, resentment and even revenge.
The greatest act that any of us can do is to forgive others. As we are reminded in the Lord's prayer, we are to "Forgive our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us."
Forgiveness emerges as the center of God's love for us and serves as the starting place for our love for one another. We are being invited to love one another, which often means that we must offer forgiveness over and over and over again.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.