Reflecting on Isaiah 11:1-10
That blissful scene of the Peaceable Kingdom ( Isaiah11:1-11) often brings to mind that question from James (4:1): Where do the wars and conflicts among you originate?
Scrolling the multiple advice columns crowding the internet these days, I’m astounded at the indulgence of so many family members just dropping out of the lives of their parents and siblings because they can’t take the “toxic presence” of somebody. Even more vicious is the ever-increasing use of beloved grandchildren to get back at grandparents with whom one or the other parent has a feud.
That’s it, says the powerful adult child, you’ll never see your grandchild again. And away they go, off to solitary holiday meals, marinating in the bitter juices of sweet revenge.
I hope it goes without saying that some estrangements are crucial for the mental health and safety of family members. Addictions can certainly take their toll as well. That said, I have friends who have followed their estranged siblings into the jaws of hell in order to bring them back from their sadness and isolation. Even more inspiring, I know people who have actually searched their souls and discovered that the problems were, indeed, their fault. They admitted them to their children, and asked forgiveness.
Sometimes that’s not enough. It’s delicious to obsess over past hurts, and a humble and heartfelt apology spoils the fun. Many parents suffering estrangement simply can’t get their kids to answer the phone (or, okay, a text). Maybe there is a long history of distrust. But the lamb has a lot of reasons to distrust the wolf, and Isaiah says it’s a sign of the presence of the Kingdom that even that can be healed.
How are you acting to be reconciled with someone?
Kathy McGovern ©2019