I was talking with a woman one day and she said that her uncle had just died, an uncle she remembered only vaguely.
It seems that when this woman was small, she was at a family party, and her three-year-old sister kicked the uncle in the shins. The uncle impulsively picked up the little girl, turned her over his knee, and spanked her.
An argument ensued between the girl's father and the uncle. For the next 35 years the two families remained estranged.
The woman's father attempted to get the families back together a time or two, calling at Christmas to offer good cheer. But the uncle chose to remain angry-righteous, holding tightly to his grudge. Consequently, the families never saw each other again.
Not only did this woman lose contact with her only aunt and uncle, but she lost the relationship with her three cousins whom she loved dearly.
She, of course, wasn't the only one who suffered from the grudge. Her sister and her mother also missed these relatives. Her father never saw his sister, his nephews, or his brother-in-law again. Family parties and get-togethers ended.
"And my poor grandmother never was able to have all of her children and their families together," said the woman.
As she told her story, I thought: This is a true human tragedy because all it would have taken to mend things between the two families was forgiveness.
If someone is holding a grudge because of your behavior, rush to the telephone now and ask for forgiveness.
If you are the one holding the grudge, let go of your bad feelings and re-establish contact today.
If you have second thoughts about mending a fence, think of all the other people whom you are inadvertently hurting because of your position.
Think of the woman who lost her aunt and uncle and her cousins because of one family argument that was never resolved.
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,” and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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