and a little child shall lead them

Monday, January 6, 2014

IMG_0824What is it about a child's capacity to forgive? No matter how terrible I am to my children, and believe me, I can be truly terrible sometimes, they are always quick to forgive. So quick that it makes me a tiny bit angry. Don't they care how awful I behaved? Weren't they hurt by my unkind actions and words? Clearly they have yet to learn the art of holding a grudge and the perverse delight one can sometimes take in withholding forgiveness or affection so the offender can truly be punished. Right? Isn't that what we too often do? Maybe if we wait a little bit longer to extend grace, they will understand how bad what they did truly was. Maybe they'll feel really sorry then.

Today, I had one of those out of body experiences. I was speaking to one of my kids, but I could hear myself as if I were an observer. Boy, was it ugly. It wasn't what I said as much as it was the way I said it. My tone was the most ridiculously taunting, hateful thing I've heard in a very long time. Embarrassing. I was humiliated for myself. I am a grown woman, and this is how a small child can make me behave?

I didn't have to swallow my pride to seek the child out and beg his forgiveness. There was literally no pride left. How the arrogant have been brought low. I apologized. Explained that there were absolutely no excuses for my behavior. I maintained distance, certain restoration was not to be had in this particular moment, convinced that how I had hurt him was too grievous to be overlooked. He looked me straight in the eyes, and the most beautiful thing occurred. He took a step towards me. He actually even had to move a few things that were in his way to get to where I was kneeling. He made a real effort to come near to me. He opened his arms wide, embracing with no reservations. Extending grace to the most ugly of behaviors, to the most broken of mamas.

And isn't that just like our Jesus? He came near. He took the step towards us when we were too broken and ashamed to take that step towards Him. Just as my son did with me, with open arms, He draws us close, wipes our shame away, and lifts our heads. Full of mercy and grace, just like the love of a small child for his imperfect mama.

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