Joan: During Thanksgiving this past year, we got together with some family that we haven’t spent the holidays with in over a dozen years. There had always been too many family disputes at get-togethers, so it just seemed easier to give holiday greetings over the phone rather than meet in person. This year, we decided that we should “walk the talk” and put the U Love principles into action. And let me say this, we definitely had the opportunity to put our U Love skills into practice!!
Now the first problem came from our plan to spend the whole week of Thanksgiving with family. It had been a long time since we had spent that much time together, so this was just too aggressive of a plan. I realize now we should have started out more cautiously. But, the holiday dinner was taking place in Florida, and the lure of the warm weather to us northeasterners was too great! We decided to throw caution to the wind and make a vacation of it, too. We knew that by spending a week together, it could increase the chances of family drama, but we hoped for the best.
Boy, were we wrong. The whole week of Thanksgiving went from drama to drama. Everyone’s differences kicked into high gear. Unconditional love was not at the forefront, and so there were numerous conflicts. The good news -and there is good news- is that we were able to resolve most of them….that is until we hit the mother lode. One family member in particular got massively offended by some unintentional things and acted out in a deeply hurtful way. This led to one of the biggest divisions in our family history. We did try to apologize to this person, but it was not received………at all.
My reason for discussing the Thanksgiving week is not to vent about family, but to bring awareness to the primary source of our family problems over Thanksgiving. In one word it was OFFENSE. By that I mean getting offended by others. And that is really the point I want to make in this post. I once read an interesting book on the subject of offense between people. In the book, I learned that this problem is widespread and is the cause of deep rifts between people in all walks of life.
Let’s face it, the issue of offense is a very difficult obstacle to overcome. It leads to all sorts of problems like unforgiveness, which can cause splits in families, marriages, friendships, businesses, congregations, etc. I’ve experienced this in my own family and I’ll bet you know of similar situations where break ups occurred because of offense between people. And, frankly, sometimes it’s understandable in certain situations why people do get offended. At times, people can be hurtful to one another in words and deeds. But true reconciliation can never happen unless we give up on offense (and, as Rebecca says in her song, “turn the other cheek”…check out the video below).
The antidote to offense, of course, is unconditional love. Trying to come out of offense and unforgiveness is a whole different story. I, myself, know the principle and try to apply it, and still struggle with it sometimes. I know it’s not easy to let go of our rights and overlook an offense, especially when we feel justified. But peace between one another is difficult without forgiveness and U Love. I’m just asking for us all to try harder to forgive the offense when someone wrongs us, and make Unconditional Love our default in all situations.
Just think about it! I’m certainly giving it much thought. Talk to ya’all soon!