Put it Out
Off the Wall, October 16,

Last month while talking to a parishioner at church, we got on the topic of the splitting of families and best friends. We quickly both concluded that we both can’t understand why, if people call themselves Christian particularly, sever their relationships from their own blood relatives and refuse to talk to each other.

At one time, I thought this was an isolated incident, but wherever I go, I catch wind of it occurring more places than I could have ever imagined.

Take Jasper Hosperovich from Koodles, TN. He is a very bright young man with a doctorate degree in education. One of four children, he teaches at a local college. Living by himself, he spends most of his free time at home watching television or polishing his new vehicle he just purchased.

His brother Jacob lives in a neighboring town. He has also a doctorate in the same field, but decided high school was his preference as he felt his talents were best suited to prepare youth for higher education.

How often do these two brothers talk? They don’t. Oh one may send the other a note in the mail, but as far as coming face to face to reconcile their differences and living according the principles of the Christian faith to which they both adhere, forget it. It’s not in the cards.

Next we have the case of Jophenia Laxitonia of Woxadoodle, MS. She is one of three children. A very loving individual, her smile beams from ear to ear as she meets with friends wherever she goes. Just by talking to her and observing her mild manner, one wouldn’t think she would be one who would not talk to her brother or even look at him when passing on the street.

Joseph, living in Foohoodle, the next town, is a very successful tradesman. He is an expert at what he does, thus getting around quite a bit. Many times one will see both at a shopping area walking in opposite directions yet ignoring the other.

One day, Sam Hill of Jophenia’s home town happened to see the two ignore each other and stated to the middle-aged lad, “Hey there goes your sister. Didn’t you see her? Joseph’s comeback was, “Oh, we don’t talk anymore.” Sam just stood there in awe trying to pretend all was OK, but in reality it was far from it. He almost blurted out in the midst of everyone, “What do you mean you guys don’t talk. She’s your sister, after all?” Numbness overtook him as he stared at Joseph in disbelief.

But Sam, too, has had problems. Longtime friends, who spoke to him upon meeting for the last 30 years, are now finding them either not talking to him at all or quietly acknowledging his presence.

Robert and Bessy have lived down the street from him for more years than he can remember. He always considered them good friends. Then one day while encountering them downtown,
Bessy looked straight ahead and would not even say “Hello” or “Hi Sam” or any such greeting. She stared right through him as though he wasn’t there. “What did I ever do to cause this?” he thought.

The most positive step one can take is to first pray about one’s problem to God for help. Next listen to what He has to say. Then proceed as He directs, for His ways are positive steps to reconciliation.

If one fails to reconcile over time, bitterness will build up in one’s heart. Severing relationships among individuals is going against not only God-given principles, but also others that were put in our midst to teach us how to conduct ourselves as we mature through the journey of life.

One of the hardest things to do for human beings, for the most part, is to request forgiveness for something whereby a wrong was committed. If we don’t seek to be pardoned for our transgressions, eventually bitterness will build up in one’s person and acts of unrest and stored up anger will result. Hatred and holding grudges are relatives of this seventh deadly sin.

We all must learn, somehow, to get along. That means what happened in the past has to be put out of one’s mind. We must make amends and consider getting along now and in the future. Leave one’s comfort zone and take the initiative to establish a compromise employing respect in every situation. Then pray to God for a peace of mind.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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