"We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited."
~ 2 Corinthians 6:3
Describe someone in your life who loves you unconditionally.
The question is easy, or is it? So often in our lives we have people who love us no matter what. My sister, Laura, is that person for me.
Oh granted, there were times when we fought like cats and dogs, ultimately, we shared a bond that few children have.
Being brother and sister is one thing, but as young children we became a real support system for one another, especially when our parents divorced.
We lived in a small apartment literally inside the exit loop off 465 in Speedway, Indiana for the first few years when our parents separated and divorced. Our mom was often up and catching the bus before we were even up. Being 9 and 6, it was alot for two kids after having had a "stay at home mom" who was always around.
The first month's were the worst, especially once winter had set in. Getting up, eating, piling on clothes, and crossing several lanes of highway traffic each day, was a real challenge. Especially if we had decided to argue with one another about something.
Those years have become a blur. So much of what we encountered and had known, changed. We both changed, but in many ways, it probably brought us closer together.
Our love for music and singing brought us closer together as we created our own sound, as we worked on harmonies together, and kept our grandparents entertained, singing songs like, "I'll never fall in love again," and our grandmother's favorite, "Delta Dawn."
As the years went on, we would be supportive to one another through our own relationships, the deaths of relatives, and in sharing about our own experiences as parents and now, grandparents.
Now don't get me wrong here, as alike as we seem to be, we are also very polarized when it comes to some things in our lives as well. We are our own selves.
The truths we tell one another, the secrets we have carried, and frankly, just some of our own life experiences that no one knows but in our own sharing, have created an element of trust that I will never have with another living person. Moments that have brought some embarrassment. Some things that would shock others. Moments that you simply just would look at us and go, "What did you say?"
In a world that constantly asks us to make up our mind about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible.
I'm so glad to know for each of us, one of the most beautiful gifts is having someone who exhibits and fulfills that need for unconditionality.
In a world that is in need of reconciliation and grace, relationships like ours serve as a litmus test and building block.
It's not always easy, but it remains possible. While in my faith journey, I see my relationship with my sister as a living illustration of God in Christ reconciling within me, especially when I know that our opinions differ and we must work through something, seeking common ground, the end result is powerful and sustaining. It is both life-affirming and significant in knowing that even tho she may say, "That's absolutely insane," in her heart I also know she is saying, "I hear you and love you anyway."
Non-judgmental practices and places where we find common conversations must be a goal for each of us. As we approach a new year, and a time where we begin to think about forming new habits, traditions, or developing deeper relationships, the idea of unconditional relationships is something I think we all must investigate.
The "eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth" has left us blind and toothless.
Jesus says it clearly: "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; ... do not condemn; ... forgive" ~ Luke 6
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.