This is a simple story of a simple family trying to slow down this crazy life and enjoy the "moments"...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bonus With Purchase...

Today the kids were angrily under the threat of permanent grounding and or/beatings cheerfully helping me clean the house.

Bennett was working in his room and Carolyn "popped in" to check on him.
While in there....she apparently decided that he was not doing things the way that SHE wanted him to do them....and let him know.

Big brother told her to mind her own beeswax and clean her own room.

That didn't go over well with Mrs. Clean.

She promptly marched over to him, yelled something unintelligible, and began smacking him.

(for what?  for not cleaning his room in the prescribed order she had in her head?  I soooooo don't understand girls...)

Bennett.....knowing he would be better off homeless then having laid a hand on his little sister....promptly called for parental back-up.

"Carolyn?!?!"   I hollered upstairs.  "Come here please!"

(imagine this in a very wavering shrieky sobby voice.)

"Carolyn.....come down here right now please."

(again in the snotty crying loud voice.)

"And I said come down here.  Now."

So she did.

Let me explain though.

She didn't just prance down the stairs.


"Carolyn....why are you crying?"


"Umm....did it hurt your hand or something?"


"Then.....why are YOU crying?  You chose to hurt your brother.  He's the one who got smacked.  He should be crying, not you."


"Umm....yes.  I know that.  So why are YOU crying?"

I won't bother to share the rest of the slightly crazy repetitive bewildering conversation with you.
Suffice it to say....that by the end of it,  I was ready for a stiff drink my deduction was as follows:

1.  Carolyn was crying because she realized she had done something wrong and was a bit concerned about the possible punishment
2.  Carolyn felt bad that she had "hurt" her brother.
3.  Carolyn felt like she couldn't apologize enough to make things right.

Now while all 3 of these reasons definitely played a part in my five-year-old's great despair....I suspect that for her, reason #1 was the leading cause of the hysterics.

Makes me think though.

When I have wronged someone.....
when I truly know beyond all shadow of a doubt that I am the cause of someone else's pain...
I am the kind of person who won't stop apologizing.

I will sincerely say "I'm sorry" over and over again....because I truly feel bad AND the other person's acceptance of my apology doesn't make ME feel better.

Because.....if I have hurt someone's THEIR job to make me feel ok.

(makes about as much sense as the reasons behind Carolyn's whacking episode)

Now listen.
I DO feel sorry for whatever I did.
It's not ALL about ME feeling better....
It's also that I want the other party to feel better too.

And granted.....
We all know people who require 3 or 4 or 8 apologies and a few drops of blood before they will bestow forgiveness.

(And yes....I realize that forgiveness is not something anyone is entitled to....that it's the option of any injured party to make a personal decision based on whatever they want.  And that some things that happen are so so bad that forgiveness may be a long time in coming.  But here....I'm just talkin' in general about small incidents or misdoings that are slightly wounding and perhaps even accidental....)

But other people have the huge hearts that allow them to forgive.
Forgive and oftentimes forget.

And those are the people that you feel the worst about wounding....if you know what I mean.

There are times when we mess up.
We say something without thinking.
We act by habit instead of by intellect.
We react without considering our actions.
We smack our siblings for indeterminate reasons.

And we feel bad.
Really bad.
So bad that we know we probably don't deserve forgiveness.
So bad that even if the other person forgives us...
....we don't really allow them that privilege.
We don't accept the forgiveness....
...because we just plain don't deserve it.

We don't deserve it.

If I have done something wrong....
then I deserve to reap the consequence.

No one is entitled to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is something that's given by the goodness of someone else's heart.

Can you guess where I'm going with this?

I mess up.
Sometimes it's accidental......
But mostly it's due to my selfishness.

I am human.....yes.
But I have free will.
And I use it.

I am soooo beyond nowhere near perfect that there is no absolute way I deserve to (or have ANY right to) be anywhere near someone who IS perfection.

I certainly don't deserve forgiveness when I continue to mess up day after day after minute after hour.....

But I got it.
I am forgiven.

God said I am.
He said that if I'm sorry....
If I truly try to turn my back on what I've done wrong....
If I ask Him for forgiveness....
.....then I got it.

But only because HE chooses to give it to me.
Not because I deserve it.

That's kind of a really hard pill to swallow.

It's hard to accept that gift of a "fresh start"
or a "clean slate"
when I know I don't deserve it.

But here's the deal.

When I accepted that Jesus was God....
When I asked Him to take over my life....
When I admitted that only He could remove the stains of sin from my life....

...I also had to learn to understand that forgiveness is HIS right.
Not mine.

It's almost easier to realize that God is Jesus was man is God....
then to truly humble myself and accept the free gift of undeserved forgiveness.

Because that's what it is.
A gift that comes with faith.
Bonus with purchase....if you will.

All these magazines and talk shows talk about "Learning how to forgive yourself".

I don't know if that's really what's important.

I think that it's more essential to accept forgiveness...and then you feel loved and forgiven.
Isn't it better for me to have God's approval than my own?

Part of Carolyn's consequence was to apologize to Bennett.
As she tearfully came down the stairs the second time she quietly whimpered,
"I'm sorry, Bennett."

And he looked up at her and said, "It's OK."
And he held open his arms.
And she ran into them and cried while he hugged her.
And she felt forgiven.
And loved.
And good.

Maybe it's harder to accept forgiveness than an apology.

I need to learn to do that.
To run INTO His arms instead of just bowing my head and feeling unworthy.
Because feeling forgiven and loved and good is....


So here's my "song of the blog day" for this entry.

"Running to your arms" it says.
Not "stomping sobbing drooling wailing".....
just "running."

It's easier that way.
Cleaner too.

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