I wiped my fogging up lenses and put it back on again and confirmed that the man before me who was cleaning a car in their garage was my uncle I hadn’t seen since 1986. The aged face…The movement of his hands as he continued to clean the car’s windows mimicked that of his brother’s…My father who had been gone since 2007. I decided to get out of our just-parked car and told my son that I would go ahead and ran up to him. He didn’t recognize me at first but I already hugged him tight like a bear’s grab which wouldn’t let go. And tears flowed from us. Tears of healing and joy.

Several years ago, my father and him were involved in a court battle over a piece of land from their parents. My father got involved in order to fight not for his share but for the nephew and nieces he had from their oldest brother. The fight took long and the sad part was my uncle’s kids got involved, too. My siblings and I didn’t. We knew we shouldn’t.

“D wants to see you,” my cousin called my cell phone out of the blue. For many years, I welcomed her into our old home and then with them getting involved in the court battle, she stopped visiting us. I never understood as I welcomed and opened my home to her as if she was my own sibling. Situations like that ended up hurting us. Not only her. But many others we treated with love and acceptance ended up hurting us in the end. Her phone call raised my husband’s cautious level. I understood where he was coming from. He didn’t want me to get hurt anymore.

But forgiveness was a must. I knew that if I professed I was a Christian, letting His love penetrate the wounds could only be possible if I start “letting go of any offenses” and if I wanted to conform to Jesus’ likeness. I shouldn’t say “I am a Christian” if my footsteps would not go toward the directions where Jesus’ were leading. If my footsteps would go the other way, it would be better for me not to say anything.

I never mentioned the court battle that occurred without any resolve. Our laughter were deafening as I joked around so much as my cousins and my uncle and auntie enjoyed and perhaps were baffled how much I had changed from being a quiet, naïve little girl into what they were seeing and hearing over lots of foods they prepared and some which I brought. My son enjoyed his time meeting my extended family and it felt like we all had known each other for many years.

As we wrapped up our conversation and hugged my uncle again and took some moments to take pictures, tears flowed again from my eyes. Suddenly, I felt that my being funny was the same spirit that my earthly father had and was known for. His brother. He must have sensed my father’s love and presence through me. My cousins and my uncle and auntie must sense the love also that came from our heavenly Father Who loved us all. They must know that it required an extra-ordinary effort for me and my son to visit them despite what happened from yesterday’s ugly memories but it was possible to break that and start creating more loving and warm ones.

“I love you, uncle. I will visit you again and again and I want you to know that you can come to our house anytime and see us,” I whispered to his now slightly deaf ears. He hugged me tighter and didn’t say anything but I saw tears flowed, too from his eyes. And they felt good. They were tears of healing. They were tears of joy.

Because forgiveness frees…Forgiveness breaks heavy chains…Forgiveness heals even the deepest wounds…Forgiveness forgets the scarred hearts and wants to start anew with a new heart…Forgiveness is first received and shared. Forgiveness comes from Jesus’ scarred hands. Scarred as all the sins were nailed on that wooden cross as He opened His arms and in His death, welcomed all with those spread arms. But the best thing was that He lived…Because love is eternal. His love that does not go with outward circumstances but remains joyful and accepting.

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"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (TNIV)

Father, thank You for Your love and forgiveness. Thank You for my son and I's wonderful time of healing old family wounds yesterday and breaking down walls that separated us for many years. Thank You for the prompting of Your Spirit to look beyond the outward circumstances and letting Your love guide and lead us in that path of forgiveness. I ask that You please touch many hearts today and may You open up their hearts and minds in able for them to see the path that leads to the Cross. May they come to know Your love and forgiveness through Jesus, Your Son. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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