Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:20-21 NIV)
About a year ago, my father-in-law moved in with us. Anyone who cares for an elderly person knows that this is not an easy task. If you do, my hat is off to you for the sacrifice you make. Without saying anything specific, I’ll go with, this has not been an easy road (we could write a book about the events that have transpired). In the beginning, I would go from being perfectly calm to angry and yelling, then I’d feel guilty and the cycle would continue. It was exhausting. One day, we had some guests staying downstairs and I was explaining (loudly) to my father-in-law that he needed to eat actual food, not just sweets. It’s a regular conversation at our house. Anyway, one of the boys said he heard me telling him this. I thought “how embarrassing to have him hear that.” Then it hit me that God heard the whole thing too. Even more embarrassing….. I turned to God and said “Enough. I can’t live like this anymore.” I started giving the situation to Him every day asking for patience and love to be what my father-in-law sees. I’m still not perfect at it but it’s gotten a lot better. Not because I was able to change but because God became my focus and changed me. Funny thing is, my father-in-law still does a lot of the same things that have always irritated me, but they don’t affect me in the same way anymore. God is good and it is true – if you love Him, loving others is much easier.
By Elaine Kapentanakis