During the month of June, we are delighted that our mutual friend and fellow church member, Stan Bevan, is sharing some thoughts on the challenging topic of reconciliation. We commend his reflections to you, and hope you find them helpful.
With our love and prayers,
Matthew and Pauline
I had two brothers, Harold the eldest and Alan my middle brother
Harold was my idol and I respected him from an early age. However, Alan and I fought like cats and dogs as children and I’m sure contributed to Mum’s severe migraine attacks, although she blamed her poor eyesight.
The reason for Alan’s attitude, I feel, was due to the fact that up to my birth he had all the attention and Harold thought well of him. As I grew older I became a great irritation to Alan. Whereas previously he and Harold had gone out together, especially Saturday mornings, now Alan had to put up with young Stan spoiling all the fun.
All this escalated into early youth. Harold was a good long-distance runner but only indulged in this activity whilst at school.
I too held the record for the 100 yards sprint race at school, a fair mile runner too, but excelled in most ball games, football being my best sport.
Alan? He preferred to watch and sat in the hedge when his class did a cross country run, and joined in the final of the race as his mates returned from their efforts.
When I was 15 I had a trial for Portsmouth Football Club Junior side. This was due to being spotted by one of Pompey’s scouts whilst playing for Portsmouth Southern Grammar School. I didn’t play particularly well in the trial game. As a sprinter I was selected as a right winger who could get the ball up field quickly and then pass to the centre forward to score. However, in the trial game I was unknown to most of the team and as I wasn’t passed the ball I couldn’t perform.
Anyway, going back to Alan. One particular day we were walking to my Gran’s for Sunday tea (Mum was already there). As usual Alan and I were arguing and he remarked that I was a failure at football. “At least I haven’t failed my exams,” I retorted. I was surprised I didn’t get an acrid reply. We walked in silence for the rest of the journey. Instead after a moment or two he quietly said, “There’s no need to say that.” We walked in silence for the rest of the journey.
All Dockyard apprentices had to attend the Admiralty Dockyard School, either the upper school or the lower school (according to one’s academic ability) for a maximum of four years if successful. Harold, a brilliant scholar, did four years in the upper school. Alan had failed in the 3rd year in the upper school but was successful later taking an H.N.C. at the local college. But at the time of our argument he was feeling rather raw about his failure.
But his hurt was now felt by me also; it played on my mind but I didn’t know how to deal with it.
So it was on the evening of my baptism I went to him and said how sorry I was for the hurtful argument. He looked at me with love and replied: “What are you talking about, you silly nipper – come here!” He hugged me and we both dissolved into tears.
You see when you hurt another by words, you actually hurt yourself as well and your hurt becomes harder for you to deal with.
As a result of reconciliation, Alan came to me later on and asked me to be best man at his wedding – not Harold!
Likewise, he in turn became my best man and a loving brother as well.
In Matthew 18v21 Peter asks Jesus how many times should he forgive his brother, up to seven times?
Jesus replied, “not seven times but seventy times seven.”
In other words, always seek reconciliation, it brings an inner peace – at least it did for me.