How do we cope when things go wrong? I recently attended a memorial service for a man who came to us for help many years ago. At the service his youngest brother stood up and shared these thoughts, and I quote:
‘Our early years of life decide so much of how things turn out. Each time a brother was born he was less loved. When I was born I became the loved favourite and he the un-favourite.’ When things went wrong the three younger brothers made sure the elder brother got the blame. He went on to say, ‘and so our relationship for life was cast. For much of our lives we tolerated one another with an undercurrent of mistrust. We have both missed out on so much.’
I knew that man well. He carried with him a fear of being left out, excluded – and however much he was included and loved he struggled to get past the resentment and effects of what had happened in those early years.
We are thinking in these articles of the unnecessary burdens we carry. This man carried resentment and it crippled his relationships. We could say that what he felt was perfectly understandable – even justified – but does it have to be that way? Do we have to be controlled by our past?
There comes a point at which we have to take responsibility for our responses. We have to stop blaming our poor background, the difficulties we may have faced in life, and even our present struggles and decide that, whatever stands against us, we still possess the power of choice. Indeed the difficulties can become stepping-stones instead of stumbling blocks.
God has no favourites. He just loves us for being here. When we experience God’s complete acceptance through faith in Jesus we find we have what really matters so we can let go of resentment over what we didn’t have or over anything that has happened in our lives.