A: One reason I wanted to reprint your letter is to encourage every reader to do everything they possibly can to avoid situations like this. God is not honored when conflicts like this break out, and unfortunately, resentment and jealousy (and greed) can poison a family for years to come.
Even if we have very little, it's still better to make our wishes known through a legal will than to leave a legacy of conflict and bitterness behind. In Old Testament times, a number of laws dealt with inheritance, partly to avoid controversy. Jesus had nothing in the way of possessions, but before His death He made sure that His mother, Mary, would be taken care of (see John 19:25-27). The Bible says, "A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children" (Proverbs 13:22).
What can you do? First, don't add to the problem by demanding things that others clearly want. Yes, you may lose something that has sentimental value to you, but it's better to do that than to lose a friendship. Perhaps your example will encourage others to do the same.
Then pray for your extended family. Right now, they aren't at their best and they need to realize it and not let things take the place of Christ. Above all, never forget (and urge others in your family never to forget) that when we know Christ, we have "an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.... kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4).
Q: My sisters and I never got along, and it's been many years since we've even tried to get together. But I understand one sister just survived breast cancer, and I'm beginning to regret all those lost years. Is there anything I can do to make up for lost time? Or should I even try? — Mrs. K.D.
A: It's sad when families become fractured, and even sadder when those fractures continue throughout life. It happens, however; it even happened to families in the Bible (including that of King David).
Should you try to do anything? Certainly! After all, if you don't try, you'll never know if any healing was possible, and you'll always look back with regret. Don't let fear of failure or rejection keep you from making the effort. You may even find that your sisters (or at least some of them) have the same feelings of regret that you now have. The Bible says, "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Romans 14:19).
What can you do? One step might be to contact the sister who's just gone through cancer. Let her know your concern, and assure her of your prayers and good will in the future. You might then write your other sisters, telling them about this conversation.
Don't expect too much at first, but if it's appropriate, let them know you're sorry you haven't been in touch. If you need to ask their forgiveness for anything, have the courage to do so. At the same time, avoid dredging up the past or arguing about things that no longer matter. Above all, pray for your sisters (and for yourself), that Christ will turn their hearts and minds to Himself and His love, and to Heaven.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.