Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31
A friend and I carpool for karate. On Wednesdays, I pick Zack and his friend up at 8 p.m. Wednesdays are my husband’s night out, so I have to take Mason and Jocelyn with me.
This past Wednesday was a little busier than usual. When I looked up at the clock and saw it was already 7:57 p.m., I panicked. We were definitely going to be very late, even if we left that second. I yelled out to Mason and Jocelyn to quickly get their shoes on and head downstairs.
As Jocelyn and I sat in the van in our garage waiting for Mason, my panic turned into frustration. Mason moves like a snail, all the time. I was hoping he’d realize how late were were and hop to. Not the case.
Trying to convey the idea that he needed to hustle, I beeped the horn. I meant to just toot it quickly, but evidently, I put more force into it than necessary. The end result was an enormous boom that reverberated off the garage walls.
I’ve never seen Mason move so fast. First, he jumped about a foot into the air. Then he ran like a fiend and literally dove into the van. When he broke into gut wrenching sobs, I realized just how much I had scared him.
His sobs ripped me in two. I went from extreme anger, to extreme shame in three seconds flat. I couldn’t believe I had done that to my son.
Yes, I had cause to be frustrated with him. And of course I hadn’t meant to blow the horn that loud and scare the life out of him. But I had. In no universe, under any circumstances, is that okay. I wished I could click back that clock on my dashboard and take back that horn blow. But I couldn’t. What I could do was apologize and make amends.
So I threw the van back into Park and ran around to his side of the van. I folded him up in my arms, and wrapped him up in my love. I told him how very, very sorry I was, and explained that I had never intended to scare him. I just wanted him to hustle along. I promised I would NEVER honk my horn at him again, and then kept repeating how very sorry I was.
Like me, his emotions changed almost immediately. I couldn’t believe how quickly he calmed down, and then how quickly he chose to forgive me. I was in awe of him. I can’t forgive like that. I hold onto a grudge like a dog with a bone. Yet again, in the midst of me trying to teach my kids, I discovered just how much they teach me.
I was also so deeply grateful to God for gifting me with a little boy who is so loving and forgiving. If given a choice between a boy who hustles, yet doesn’t forgive, versus a slow-as-molasses kid with a heart the size of Texas, I’m choosing the big hearted snail every time.
To top things off, when we were doing our bedtime blessing bags thirty minutes later, Mason said he was most grateful for “forgiveness.” I was humbled yet again. I told him that if anyone needed to be grateful for that it was me. I also added that more than forgiveness, I was grateful that he is my son and that he can forgive so quickly and purely.
As I closed his bedroom door, I thought, That’s how God forgives, in an instant, when we ask for it. Thank goodness for that, and for little boys who may be slow in some ways, but are lighting fast in all the ways that truly matter.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do I ask my kids for forgiveness when I’ve done something wrong?
* What does it feel like to have my kids forgive me?
* Do I recognize that God forgives me instantly when I ask?