Monday, August 11, 2008

Pride and Apologies

Ah, the teachable moments. They are so much easier to embrace when they occur on bright, sunny days and involve butterflies or another element of nature. But when it comes to our children's education, science is not number one.

We desire to see our children grow into mature, godly men and women. And we don't just desire it, we are held accountable by God to train them in His ways. So, I'm trying to learn how to embrace ALL the teachable moments. Embracing it while fighting off embarrassment, disappointment, anger.

While we were at my Mom's last week, Caleb had a run-in with two of my family members. Now, we think there was some miscommunication and confusion involved, but we weren't there, so truly we don't know. Throw in strong-willed, 8 yr. old boy, and people who aren't around kids very much and there is certainly potential for problems.

Anyway, at first I was upset with Caleb because I just wanted him to not be in trouble. He is a good kid and I don't like to think of people, especially my family, viewing him negatively. Yes, I am a little sensitive in this area - we have had some very bad experiences, (I should clarify, not involving my family).

Saying that, whether I think a situation could have been handled better by an adult or not, Caleb has to be responsible for his actions, whether he feels he was in the wrong or not. Tough lesson, even when you are grown. Thus, comes the hard part, the apology.

Caleb has never had an easy time saying he's sorry. And then when he does apologize, making sure he does it with the proper attitude (you know, being able to nicely saying your apology) is even more difficult. And of course, there's always motive. Are you apologizing to me because you are sorry for your actions or sorry that you got caught?

So, there we were with a teachable moment on our hands that I was not happy about. But then I paused and had to thank God. Here was a hands-on opportunity, in a safe environment, to teach my child about the importance of reconciliation and restoration and how pride can keep us from attaining it in our relationships. And again, not something most adults handle very well. How many times should I apologize to Richie for something and don't?

It actually hurts sometimes. Admitting you were wrong. Unjustified in doing or saying something. And how much harder is it when someone is offended at us, when we were justified or just misperceived or misinterpreted. Tough lesson to teach when I don't always get it right.

In John 15:12-13, it says:

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

One way we lay down our lives is to humble ourselves and seek forgiveness from someone who was offended by us, whether it is real or misperception. Offering no excuses or defenses, just our humility. Seeking reconciliation in our relationships should be a priority. Otherwise, we develop damaged relationships and miss an opportunity to grow in and exhibit Christ's love.

Lord, I want to be a vessel of Your love. Help me to be more in tune with Your heart. Help me to walk in restoration and reconciliation, to be quick to seek forgiveness. Let me not be easily offended, but teach me to walk in forgiveness, that my children would know how to love like You love.