José (not his real name) found his anger spilling over into swear words in a way he never intended. The issue came to the fore at a family gathering. Because there was not enough meat for so many, and the meeting would last another day, they needed to slaughter another animal.
Just who owed which of the cattle needed to be clarified. Most family members had moved a two-hour drive from the farm to live in the large capital city. As the cattle herd grew, clear records weren’t always kept. Who owned which animal was questionable in some cases. For this reason, José began the quarrel, shouting, “You’ve taken two from my herd; none from yours!” He stomped out. Unwilling to apologize for his rage, he drove his car far away, arriving at the next state. There, he found a new job. He was determined to leave his family. This time, his leaving was for good. Sin Matters!
There, in a rented room, he wrote to his family. “I’m not coming home! All my life, I’ve been the one who suffered the most. Why has everyone always had it in for me!” Reading these words, his wife, Maria, (not her real name) feared she had lost him for good. She wiped her cheeks; this was only the latest in a long series of outbursts.
Then came an invitation for the entire family to gather over Carnaval Week. It would be a more significant event. This time, it would include all the descendants of the original family; more than 350 people would be there. José, needing to finally wrap up his business affairs, decided this would be his final visit. That’s why he came for the five-day event.
On the family gathering’s last day, his heart broke. His wife and three children had explained how much they missed him. Others welcomed him but didn’t quiz his actions or motives. The joyful music and meditations worked into his soul. Adequate training helped the messenger craft meaningful communications. As the final message ended, he made his way to the front. An audible gasp escaped the lips of others. Forgiveness matters.
He beckoned to his wife and children. They joined him at the front while choruses were sung. Everyone saw him embrace his family. Tears flowed. And not only his. For hours, scores made things right with one another. A trained pastor helped in the restoration of relationships. As a result, José humbled himself, and his decisions brought about healing. Years later, that family gathering still makes a difference. Reconciliation matters.
This month, the LAM Newsletter focuses on equipping people to adequately communicate the Gospel. Training and equipping pastors in another Latin American country is our focus this month. Men and women need to learn how to communicate the Gospel. Why?
Because sin, forgiveness, and reconciliation matter.
By David Phillips