My sister and I always had kind of a rocky relationship, but now she's gone and I feel terrible because I didn't visit her or try to patch things up, although I knew she was dying. I wish I could tell her how I feel, but it's too late now. Will God forgive me, even if she can't? — V.P.
Sometimes, I'm afraid, we lose sight of just how final death really is. When someone dies, it's like a door slamming shut, with no hope of it ever opening again during our lifetime. Job declared, "As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return" (Job 7:9).
Have you ever asked yourself why you didn't try to make things right before your sister died? Perhaps it's because it seemed to be the easiest path to take. After all (you might have said to yourself), soon she'll be gone anyway, so why bother? You also might have wondered if she'd really welcome you, or if instead you'd end up dredging up all your hurts from the past.
But often, I've found, the real issue is our pride. When we've had trouble getting along with someone, it's hard to go to them and admit we might have been at fault (even if they were also). It's hard, too, to forgive someone if they've hurt us in some way. But this is wrong, and we need to face our pride and -- with God's help -- overcome it. God has said, "I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech" (Proverbs 8:13).
Turn to Jesus Christ and accept Him and His forgiveness into your life. Then ask God to help you learn from this experience, and to reach out to others in love instead of anger or neglect.