This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.—John 15:12 (ESV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.—Romans 3:23 (NIV)
My mother-in-law was rarely affectionate with me, but we were mutually respectful. Her declining health caused episodes of confusion. Close to her 90th birthday, her forgetfulness caused an unexpected squabble. She accused me of spreading a rumor to her that she then passed on as truth to her friends at her assisted-living facility. The “gossip” spread, getting her in hot water and causing embarrassment. The truth was that it was my husband who had shared the rumor with her, but she insisted it was me. She asked for a get-together to straighten it out.
But instead of working things out civilly, she berated me, saying I had “crucified” her to her family and friends. My husband couldn’t convince her he was the guilty party. Months passed and from all appearances, she had forgotten about it. But not me. I stewed. I wanted an apology. I distanced myself from her and left most caregiving chores to my husband.
A year later, my 70th birthday loomed. No doubt I’d end up forgetful and confused if I made it to 90. How would my sons handle it then, if in confusion, I said something unkind to one of them? I hoped they’d forgive me and let it pass.
I thought my mother-in-law had fallen short, but the truth was, I had too. It was time to let it go, stop taking it personally and reclaim compassion.
God, help us turn the other cheek in difficult situations with our loved ones. None of us are perfect. We all fall short of your glory.
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