Sincerity


So I’m going to be intensely, brutally honest today and I hope no one thinks less of me for it. I’m human, just like everybody else.

For the last few years, I’ve been pretty upset with my mom’s stepmother. It started out as real anger. I’m not going into details; there’s no real point in that. Suffice it to say that she wasn’t very high on my favorite persons list. And even previous to the event that triggered all this, we weren’t close. She never really expressed interest in my life, and even though I called her Grandma, she wasn’t really ever my grandma. She was a nice little old lady who married my grandfather–(who never really felt like my grandpa, for the record).

In the last couple of weeks, though, I started getting my head on straight. Please don’t misunderstand me. I never hated her. Never. I just didn’t want to be around her. I didn’t want to go see her. I didn’t want to visit her. But something changed in me during the Bless U series at church and it really got me thinking about true forgiveness again. So–I forgave her and started doing my best to think kindly of her. I even went over for lunch one day.

Well, we got the news yesterday that she has a massive case of abdominal cancer. It’s so bad it’s not worth treating, apparently. She’s 97 and still goes bowling twice a week, so while on one hand I didn’t expect her to live much longer, this still came as a surprise. And no matter how distant our relationship always was, it still makes me sad.

Maybe these things are completely unrelated, but this whole situation kind of came to mind when I read my verse of the day, Isaiah 1:16-17.

 16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
      Get your sins out of my sight.
      Give up your evil ways.
 17 Learn to do good.
      Seek justice.
   Help the oppressed.
      Defend the cause of orphans.
      Fight for the rights of widows.

I’m not a scholar, but reading the rest of the chapter will tell you exactly what’s going on here. The people of Israel were screwing up again and God again sent another prophet (Isaiah) to tell them what’s what. But these two verses come out of a section of text that is God telling Israel that he hates their religion because it’s meaningless. All of their rituals didn’t have any substance to them because no one did them for the right reasons.

I feel like I’ve been right there in my relationship with my step-grandmother for the last couple of years. I referred to her as my grandmother and I recognized her as a family member, but I didn’t really act like it because I didn’t feel like she deserved it. But that’s wrong. What good does it do to call someone family when you don’t truly accept them as family? How can you love someone if it’s forced? If you lack sincerity in your words and actions, then what is the point of saying or doing them? Besides, who among us actually deserves anything good in our lives? And what right do I have to judge the hearts of other people? None.

I’m glad I figured this out during Bless U, even though I don’t think I realized I figured it out. I’m hoping that maybe in whatever time she has left I can communicate to her that I have forgiven her. If you all think about it, please say a prayer for my family and especially for my Grandma Bea.

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