I have three kids and there is a lot of fighting sometimes...A LOT! With all that fighting come many half hearted apologies.
as the huff off to their room
with their arms crossed
feet stomping on the floor
can be common with kids (well mine anyways).
My hubby and I are always trying to teach them what is a meaningful apology. However, I think that sometimes what we teach gets lost in the heat of "Mom, she hit me...But she hit me first" scenarios.
One of my kids is a junior high girl. (Yikes, I can't believe I just wrote that! Time is flying and I better be paying attention.) Like all good junior highers, she had a melt down last Sunday morning. I was trying to be sympathetic, she did stay up for New Years Eve. She was being a bear and crossed several lines as we were getting ready for church. She ended up getting grounded for the day. I hate doing that; but, I had to do it. Let's just say it was a very frustrating first morning of the New Year. All I could think was "Good morning 2012, I have a pre-teen...ugh!"
Man, what a morning! At church I was getting the cold shoulder from her. Then something quite special happened. I reached over and put my hand in hers. Thankfully, she didn't push it away. A few moments later, I felt her writing something with her finger on my hand. She wrote out, "I'm sorry". If I wasn't paying attention, or let the tickling movement of her finger annoy me or decided it was nothing...I would have missed a precious moment with her.
I don't know what caused her heart to change. I know it wasn't because I made her apologize. Maybe it was something the pastor said or it was a song that we sang that changed her heart. Or maybe...just maybe...she allowed the Holy Spirit speak to her heart. I will never know. I do know that she felt sorry and it was from her heart even if it came in the form of little scribbles on my hand. I leaned over (trying not to tear up) and whispered in her ear, "I forgive you."
I have been thinking about what happened between my daughter and me over the last few days. I have been challenged by her. I have been challenged to ask for forgiveness when I have wronged someone. I have learned to let go of my anger and make things right. I have learned that even if it is hard or hurts do it .....anyway I can.
I tried all morning at church to reach out to her, even when I knew she wanted to have nothing to do with me. I tried little things. I tried big things. I just decided to be there when she was ready.
And then God showed me that He is like that with us. He wants to forgive. He is waiting to forgive. He does everything in His power to provide us an opportunity to receive His forgiveness, His love, His compassion.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If all we can do is scribble "I'm sorry" under the weight of our guilt and shame; He doesn't wait to whisper to us, "I forgive you!" In fact, all of heaven rejoices when one sinner repents and comes to Christ.
God's love is big and wide. No matter what you have done or how bad it seems, God wants to forgive you and have a relationship with you. All we need to do is say, "I'm sorry!"
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God's forgiveness is what helps me....