Years ago a woman shared with me how horrific her childhood was.
The abuse she’d suffered from her mom. Years of being told what a disappointment she was, being compared to friends, being told how she would “never amount to anything.”
I didn’t know the woman very well at the time, but what I did know was that she seemed anything BUT those things.
A few months after our conversation she asked to meet with me again, expressing a level of urgency.
Her mother had become very ill and needed a long-term care plan for whatever would be the remainder of her life. The woman had decided that bringing her mom into her home would be the best option. She was retired (as a nurse) and had the ability and knowledge to provide substantial care for her mom during her declining health. The problem was that the woman’s family passionately disagreed, even refusing to support her decision. One child explained that she would not visit her mom until her grandmother was gone because she refused to give support to someone who treated someone else so vilely.
“What does your heart tell you to do?” I asked.
“To love her as Jesus would,” was her answer.
The pathway that Jesus lived and also gives to us was not one that said, “Hey, let folks abuse you . . . let them tell you how awful you are, how you aren’t worthy, etc.” (Jesus would have never condoned abuse of any kind).
However, the pathway he provided was one of absolute forgiveness and love.
The lady explained her mom had mellowed over the years. And while they weren’t “BFFs”, her mom was certainly not abusive or manipulative with her any longer.
Throughout his ministry and all the way to the cross, the path Jesus walked before us was one marked by selflessness, forgiveness, and love.
As we prepare to go into Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Dark Saturday, and Easter, what if we each did some reflection on our past pathways versus our current ones. Often times our past pathways are marked with wounds, fear, anger, and distrust. The only way our current and future pathways will be different and be paths that lead to life/love will be if we consciously choose to make this path different. Letting go of the things that bind us and seeking freedom by living a life marked by love.