Leo Buscaglia was a professor and motivational speaker. He says that a young female student placed a poem Things you didn’t do on his table during the Vietnam War: “Remember the day I borrowed your brand new car and I dented it, I thought you’d kill me. But you didn’t. And the time I dragged you to the beach, and you said it would rain, and it did. I thought you’d say: “I told you so”. But you didn’t. And the time I flirted with all the guys to make you jealous, and you were. I though you would leave me. But you didn’t. And you remember the time I spilled blue berry pie all over your brand new car rug. I thought you would smack me. But you didn’t. And the time I forgot to tell you that the dance was formal and you showed up in jeans. I thought you would leave me for ever. But you didn’t. Yes there were lots of things you didn’t do, but you put up with me and you loved me and protected me. And there were so many things that I wanted to make up to you when you got back from Vietnam, but you didn’t.”
We tend to postpone things. We think that later we’ll do something good to, or for someone, later play with our children, later visit our family and friends, later compensate someone for everything he had done for us – until it’s too late.
We can delay doing good to someone, but we can also delay in putting right an injustice we have done someone. We hurt people by ignoring them, bearing grudges against them, finding fault with them, gossiping about them, condemning them, shouting at them, etc. Someone pleaded: “If you can’t love people, at least, don’t hurt them.”
David‘s son Absalom wanted to kill his father so that he could become king instead of his father. David found that terrible, because he dearly loved his son. He then received the news that his son had died in the war: The king was overcome with grief. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he cried, “O my son! My son Absalom! Absalom, my son! If only I had died in your place, my son! Absalom, my son!” (2 Sam. 18:33). A parent is heart-broken when his child dies, but it is still worse when the child, till his death, had been opposed to his parent, especially if the parent desired that attitude to have been different. It is such a pity that people, who are supposed to live together in love, sometimes cause one another so much pain. God expects us to live in peace: Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody (Rom. 12:18). Richard Gillard writes: We are pilgrims on a journey/ We are brothers on the road./ We are here to help each other/ Walk the mile and share the load.
Buscaglia says: “If there’s something that needs to be done, you do it now! Because tomorrow may never be there. And especially that’s true with your relationships. Don’t wait. The time for life is now, the time for love is now, the time to do is now, not tomorrow.”
It may be that I have to set things right with someone. That person may be dead tomorrow. Or I myself may be dead tomorrow. What then am I going to tell the Lord? It is He who said: “Love one another, just as I love you” (John 15:12). Doesn’t that tell us something?
Our heavenly Father, I thank You that You still give me today to set things right with someone, before it is too late. Amen.