Thursday, 12 September 2013

Unconditional Love of a Grandparent

Luke 6 27:36

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.
If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
 Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do that.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

This was the reading this morning on “Pray-as-you-go” and as I listened to the scripture I was struck with how the meaning of these words has changed for me.  As a young adult this words spoke of a personal sacrifice that I had to make to be a good Christian.  Today the words speak of the gifts I can freely give to my family, community, world and myself. 

As Grandparents we have reached or are reaching our psychological maturity: we understand as we did not when we were younger.  Tal Ben-Shahar describes psychological maturity as “the ability to willingly shift perspectives in time and in space, the capacity to appropriately choose between engagement in the here and now and awareness of the big picture”.   We understand Luke 6 27:36 not as a set of rules that we must follow but as gifts of spirit, the spirit of our creator given life in us on the day of our conception.

It is important that we exercise our psychological maturity and extend to our children and grandchildren the intent of Luke 6.  That we give them unconditional love, a love that they can count on no matter what they do.  Luke 6 does not say we have to agree with them, it does say that we love them and that we do not withdraw ourselves from their lives, that we “choose between engagement in the here and now” reacting to what the next generations are doing in this moment or understanding the “big[ger] picture” and putting the moments with the context of whole human experience.

Ben-Shahar, Tal,

Grandma Snyder

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