Tuesday, April 29

My voice....

"Stop judging so that you will not be judged. Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you. So why do you see the piece of sawdust in another believer's eye and not notice the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to another believer, 'Let me take the piece of sawdust out of your eye,' when you have a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer's eye." Matthew 7:1-5 GWT

Long ago, in a place not far from where I now stand, an event happened that would change the lives of two people for twenty years or so. In the tempest of the storms that raged in the lives of these two souls, it was more than the storms that would wound both to the point of separation.

I was one of those who stood in those events of that day and I was the one who spoke in woundedness, bitterness, pain, and anguish against another who's only crime was stepping into the future that was being shaped for him. Accusations of 'selling out' and abandoning the family that had survived many a trial before created a wound that would drive the gap between me and that person for years and years, through the death of a father, the death of a mother, and the death of a grandmother.

That person was my older brother.

And the ensuing silence that has haunted the bond that once stood unbroken never left my ears.

Not realizing the depth of the wounding I had caused with my angry words, regardless of the reasoning that I had behind them (faulty reasoning at best, wounded reaction at the worst), that connection would ripple across the landscape of my life for years. My younger brother, with whom contact was more frequent, was more painful than the silence of the elder. Through the connection of the younger sister, the brothers would stay tenaciously connected to the bond of family broken upon the altar of this world.

There is more than just this one thing that would cause the bond of the unbreakable four to be torn asunder and there is more than I who hold blame, responsibility, and wounded brokenness that ripped the fabric of each of our lives so long ago, and in such painful ways. And maybe what is lost will never be recaptured, never see the blinding light of day.

Almost a year ago today, I stood before a group of godly men and told my story. I had touched, in that painful half-hour or so of tearful recollection, upon this silent relationship of my elder brother and I. The painful traffic-wreck relationship of the younger brother and I. Bearing responsibility for whatever I had done to endure the silence (for much of my life up to seven years ago is borne under wounded bitterness and grief), I spoke to the silent gathering of that which was lost and faded in the annuals of time.

I spoke of being criticized by a father who knew of the painful truth of having a son who looked like him, acted like him, and spoke like him but had none of the qualities that the elder had or the younger showed promise of. Of fighting to find the value under a brother to which life seemed a breeze and accolades fell like rain around his feet. But I never spoke, had forgotten or hidden, the event that would silence the brother who would leave upon an adventure that would take him far away and silence him for what seemed forever.

Four years ago, I stood in the back of a church with a million thoughts racing through my mind. Would the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob finally be found in this warehouse converted into a worship center? Would I get the feeling that once was a Sunday event in the torn world of my past? Or would the silence that even pervaded my brother's relationship with me continue to invade everything else, as it had done since I turned my back on the religiosity of the hypocritical Pharisees that to this day stand on tradition and universal multitudes of ways to the "god" we've designed as a people since the Fall.

God spoke, in a whisper………."Don't you think it's time to come home?"

And my world has never been the same. Can never be the same. And it was then that I began a journey that brought me to this day. And, like that Saturday a year ago, I have been disrupted and brought to a place where the grace of God is displayed and the forgiveness of the Christ permeates the soul, where the strength of my weakness is the glory of God.

Again, I've heard God speak…….but in my brother's voice.

Four years ago, the silence that the brutalness of my words brought upon the heart of my brother was invaded through the mighty hand of the God we both know…four years ago, since the rededication and ignition of the faith that I never realized was visited upon me in that cheap seat in the back of a converted warehouse. And God started to work……….

I turned my brother's silence over to God, giving Him the power and permission to invade the portions of my heart long bricked over and forgotten in the hallways of my past. And there wasn't a total peace that was brought, but patient conviction that in time, when I was ready to face those wounds and painful memories, God would move.

Maybe not towards reconciliation or restoration, but a healing.

I heard that my brother had become a missionary with the Navigators and was in Germany on an Air Force base that most likely he had once stood as a Air Force Officer. He was doing good things and really working to the design and purpose to which God had given and purposed to him.

I sent an email.

And my world exploded yesterday with the reply.

The thing that hit me the most was the ending……………

Love, Larry.

The beam has been removed, and by the strength of the Father we both love, I stand in awe.

The silence is no more.

This time, I will use my voice.....

To say I'm sorry.....

And I love you too...

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