“Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi..”
Several years ago, I had a falling out with my brother. We went years without talking to each other. During the time that we weren’t speaking to each other, it dragged my sisters into the dispute as well and soon, the family was torn apart.
There were times when I felt like a big part of my life was missing, but hurt feelings, and more importantly, my ego kept me from taking the step to put an end to the whole affair.
I think this is something that happens to all families, albeit in varying degrees. We can see an example of this in Genesis. Ishmael and Isaac had a strained relationship. We know that at some point the strain was enough for their father Abraham to send Ishmael and his mother away at Sarah’s insistence. We see that at their father’s funeral they were able to put their difficulties aside and come together.
We learn from Ishmael and Isaac that relationships can be repaired. Later on, Jesus tells us that “if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24).
The One who created us, made us in His image. That image is love. Our ego is a selfish thing, devoid of love, and when we are dealing with damaged relationships it is always because of egos. We need to remember the lesson of Abraham’s sons. We need to recall the lesson Jesus taught. We need to pray and to embrace love to overcome our ego if we are to do out part in repairing our broken relationships.
As for me and my brother, it is still a strained relationship, but with more time, prayer and effort it will eventually be repaired.