All of us have unfinished business. Just take a look around our yards. Look at our desks. Open closet doors and venture down basement steps only if you dare. We leave new projects uncompleted, sometimes because of higher priorities that press in on us, or sometimes because we just grow tired of what was once the next big thing. So we push aside that workbench project, that beautiful dress we were sewing, or we stuff that cool techno toy in the closet or a drawer when the new one came out a few months later. In most cases, it’s really no big deal to leave these “to do” list items uncompleted. If we don’t get back to it, no biggie because it doesn’t usually change the world.
But then there’s unfinished relational business….
This week, I had the privilege of leading a memorial service for a great woman of God who was the picture of a good and faithful servant. As I met with the family before and after she passed, we talked about how she had lived. As we reflected and shared, we realized that to the best of our recollection, this great lady left no unfinished relational business undone. She “was good” with everyone as much as it was up to her. It was her style to be open and humble, and she extended herself in healthy and appropriate ways to those in her life to be sure she would have no broken regrets. We all gave her an A in the most important area of earthly studies: relationships. Hey she wan’t perfect (no one is), but she set the bar high for those who knew her and loved her.
I don’t like the feeling of unfinished relational business. I don’t like it when I feel bitterness toward someone else. I don’t like it when I don’t want to patch it up. But I’m continuing to learn the goodness of doing what I can to restore. When I finally move myself to do it, I feel better. About myself, and the other person, too. I feel better because I’m thinking better. I’m following God’s lead, and those thought process have no choice but to produce good fruit in my spirit and in those I share life with.
Sometimes people aren’t ready to patch it up with me. I’m learning to live with that. For those who are, we are both better for it. I want my family to gather around me one day when I get to go be with Jesus, and say, “You know, he did what he could to be at peace with folks as much as it was up to him.”
That thought moves me to do the next right thing, and I’m better for it when I do.
Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.