Reflection by Scott Stoner
If you are like me, you sometimes take for granted that you are fortunate to have shelter—a home, apartment, or some kind of physical dwelling—a place where you get to live and sleep on a daily basis. I’m not always as appreciative as I should be about the fact that I have always been blessed to have such a shelter in my life. I also am aware that I often take for granted another type of shelter in which I live every day, and that is the shelter provided by the love of friends and family. It is this kind of shelter to which the beautiful Irish proverb is referring.
This week we have been reflecting on the ways that we can provide love and shelter within our families. We offer shelter when we practice love, gratitude, patience, and acceptance. We refuse shelter when we withhold these acts of loving kindness toward our family and friends. Many know, all too well, that sometimes within our families we have neither received, nor provided, a loving shelter. This is where forgiveness comes in, the type of forgiveness that the father offered the Prodigal Son. This story is such a compelling story of forgiveness that I think it really should be known not as the parable of the Prodigal Son, but as the parable of the forgiving father.
The reflections for this week may have stirred up some old hurt because it is not uncommon to have unresolved pain within our families. If this is true for you, know that you are not alone. Be kind to yourself, and if you need the personal or professional support of others, please ask for it. Forgiveness and healing are always possible, even if the opportunity for reconciliation is not.
Making It Personal: What did you learn this week about forgiveness within families? Is there a particular thought that you want to write down? Is there a conversation you want to have with someone based on what you have learned this week? Is there anything you want to do differently going forward regarding practicing forgiveness with your family?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.