Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Extending Forgiveness

So I read a news article yesterday about this elderly woman at a wedding who was suppose to cheer and throw confetti as the bride and groom exited the church.  Instead, she accidentally threw her drink at them!  Oops, wrong hand.

Watch for yourself.

If you're like me.  You had this weird struggle within as to whether you should give into roaring laughter or remain solemn, sorry, and embarassed for those invovled. 

I rather enjoyed reading comments from others who had read the article and watched the video.  Here are a few:

  • Omg, am I the only one who feels bad for the old lady???
  • This is hilarious but that poor woman! She must be so embarrassed!
  • I can't wait till I get OLD then I can just play it off. Oops... I'm sorry, I thought my drink was a bag of rice.
  • Those Grandma's - just can't take them anywhere - specially with a drink in their hand !!!
  • Accident?......or grandma telling us how she really feels????
  • Grandma never liked her much.
  • You had ONE job, Grandma!
  • Everything is cool but please take her car keys away. Thank you.
The BEST comment, in my opinion, was the following:

  • Awwww, Grandma looks so sad after realizing what she had done. I think they should have immediately grabbed her and hugged her and laughed it off for her sake.... Poor thing.
I completely agree.  This poor old woman looked so sad and repentant, yet all the attention was paid to the bride and to wiping her face and dress dry.  At least the groomsman tried to console her.

The first thing I thought of after reading the article and watching the clip was my kids and all their little mistakes.

Allie grabbing the blueberry container and dumping blueberries all over the kitchen floor.

Grayden hitting Dad where it counts while playing defense during an indoor family basketball game.

Cole smacking me in the head, with his head, as he got up from the couch too quickly.

Allie poking me in the eye when I asked her, "Where's Mommy's eye?"

Grayden stirring the cake mix a little too aggressively and splatting it all over the kitchen counter and walls.

Cole dropping the tomato sauce glass jar on the grocery store floor while insisting he help me put it in the cart.

I'm sure many of these little mistakes sound familiar to you and your kids probably have many of their own.  Just like the old lady who forgot which hand her confetti was in, kids make mistakes.  We all do. 

But mistakes (no matter how little) allow for BIG grace.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 these words,

5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

Our responses to the annoying little mistakes in our children's lives matter.  We don't want to heap upon them excessive sorrow; Paul describes it as being "overwhelmed by sorrow."  Rather we ought to forgive and comfort them which tenderly reaffirms our love for them.

The bride herself ought to have forgiven and comforted the elderly woman when she made her little mistake.  Maybe that did occur later on, I honestly hope so.  But wouldn't it have been an incredible demonstration of grace and forgiveness if the bride had turned to her moments after it happened, taken her hand, and extended grace with words of forgiveness and comfort?  It was only water for goodness sake. 

And wouldn't it be an incredible demonstration of grace and forgiveness if we turn to our kids after they make mistakes, take their hand, and extend grace with words of forgiveness and comfort.

Jesus taught that,
 "If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures." Matthew 6:14-15

So we are called to forgive others. 

I recognize extending forgiveness and grace is tough, especially when it is an extremely hurtful offense.  In those particular tough cases, it can take time for God to do a work in our hearts so that we can forgive. 

But can you imagine the example we would teach our children if we took the opportunity to extend grace and forgiveness when they make those little mistakes that happen usually as a result of immaturity and ignorance.  Perhaps, if we extend grace and forgiveness to them in those little instances they will, in turn, begin to extend the same grace and forgiveness to others (even mom or dad's little mistakes) in big instances.

Bottom Line:  We learn forgiveness from watching and experiencing forgiveness ourselves.

Join me today and let's pray for our children,

Lord Jesus, I pray you would use me as a vessel of Your forgiveness to extend grace to my children when they make little mistakes.  I pray they would not be overwhelmed by sorrow when they mess up but would receive comfort from my (and Your) forgiveness and receive affirmation of our love for them.  And I pray that as they experience forgiveness themselves for those little OOPS mistakes, that they would begin to extend it to others in both little and big instances.  May they learn forgiveness from watching and experiencing it themselves! 

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