What I'm Reading Today: 2 Peter 1-3
Nearly every person I know has a strained relationship with at least one member of his or her biological family.
Some will admit to this; others won't.
I am one of those individuals who will admit to it. My relationship with my sister is less than satisfying for a number of reasons. Some of those reasons have to do with long-standing jealousies; other reasons have to do with the fact that we are so much alike.
For the better part of twenty years now, we have shoved each other into our pre-conceived boxes and refused to budge much in terms of our attitudes and actions toward one another.
Our intransigence with one another stems from the fact that we are both convinced that we know the other so well that we can predict what the other will say or how the other will respond. Some times this is true. More often than either of us would like to admit, however, it's not. Nevertheless, we keep trudging on year after year locked into our same patterns of assumptions – refusing to open ourselves to the notion that maybe – just maybe- the other person might have matured a bit and perhaps even (gasp!) changed.
"It's been twenty-years of tension in our relationship," I tell myself. "Why would I expect anything to change after all this time?!"
Because I refuse to open myself to the possibility of change, our relationship has been stuck in neutral for many years.
Just as I feel entirely justified settling into my relational rut, along comes a passage like today's passage from 2 Peter and tells me the thing I least want to hear. "[God] doesn't want anyone lost. [God's] giving everyone space and time to change."
"If God has the patience to allow everyone the space and time to change," the question becomes, "then wouldn't that mean God wants us to give each other the space and time to change as well?!"
You would certainly think so.
The hard part for me is taking that question from the abstract and putting it into the concrete circumstance of my relationship with my sister. Just because the dynamic in our relationship hasn't changed in our relationship for the past twenty-years doesn't mean that it won't. I have to dig down deep and draw on my faith to believe that anything is truly possible. Even more so, I have to want the change in our relationship to happen more than I want to be right about my assessment of our relationship. That's the hardest part for me!
Today I would ask you to search your heart and see if there is someone in your life with whom you are struggling: someone whom you don't want to give either the space or the time to change. Someone whom you would prefer to simply write off.
If you have someone like that in your life, remember the words from today's passage and see if perhaps you can discover what I believe is one of the most important qualities of any relationship: patience.
Til next time …