One of the real wounds of family life, is when communication breaks down and family life begins to disintegrate. Often hatred and unforgiveness causes huge pain to family members.
Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist.
This column appeared in March 2009
A wise person once observed “You can choose your friends, but not your family” One of the great learning in all our family lives is to accept the fact that there is no such a thing as a perfect family. All families carry there strengths and weaknesses, its joys and sorrows. A family can only be as strong as it embraces its weakest member. One of the real wounds of family life, is when communication breaks down and family life begins to disintegrate. Often hatred and unforgiveness causes huge pain to family members.
I often find myself thanking God that his mercy and love does not carry any of the prejudice, conditions and limitations that are part and parcel of our human ability to forgive, or be open to the possibility of reconciliation. We can at times find ourselves indulging in judgmental criticism, or engaging in harsh gossip, justified by strong opinions, in a culture that always defends our right to freedom of expression. Where there is strength and integrity there will also be human weakness and brokenness. As a society we are growing more and more intolerant of any human weakness especially when that weakness affects or impacts on our lives.
Intolerance and harsh judgments always create a sense of division, separation and exclusiveness. Those who cannot conform to the confines of acceptability often find what it is to experience exclusion. The addict, prisoner, foreign-national, homeless, and many more know painfully what it is to be left out and cast aside often to a sub-culture of silence and fear.
It is impossible to think love rather love is an experience, love is felt. So too it is very difficult to be compassionate and forgiving if self judgment and criticism accompany our inner selves. There is a great liberation when any individual can begin to celebrate the gift simply for being “ME”. God loves us not for who may want to be or who we may hope to be perceived, God loves us just for who we are. It is on the journey of self awareness, where we grow in celebrating the wonderful gift that is our humanity. Our God is one who first of all embraced our fragile and vulnerable human experience. God offers to us a rich and abundant blessing where we long for healing and strength. This Lent He tells us “I have come not for the healthy but for the sick”. Thankfully our God never judges or criticizes but affirms in an enabling and gentle manner that always builds and encourages. To have a personal relationship with God is to indulge always in a wonderful friendship where new opportunities and hope abound. I have no doubt that the more we turn to God with honesty the more he will lavish his healing love upon us.
Mother Teresa once said “Hungry for love, God looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, God begs of you. Naked for loyalty, God hopes in you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to him?