It was Thanksgiving, about 7 pm. We were at my mom’s house. All together there were fourteen of us; seven adults and seven kids.
My son calls them, “The Cousins,” like they are a band of superheroes or a rock group.
We had eaten our meal and the football game was on the television. The kids were running around playing and it was a nice end to a good day.
My son Joel had brought along one of those blow up balloon balls with the rubber band attached to one end. You can hold the rubber band in your hand and bounce the ball back and forth. I think this was created simply to annoy parents, but I’m not sure.
My niece, Emma, who was celebrating her fourth birthday along with Thanksgiving, had gotten ahold of the yellow bouncy balloon. She was running through the living room and into the kitchen, lost in the moment of bouncing this wonderful toy.
Suddenly, a loud POP! rang out. Immediately, Emma burst into tears, almost simultaneously with the bursting of the balloon.
She ran to her Dad crying and saying to Joel:
I can’t be your friend anymore!
It was the saddest thing. To watch her go from pure joy and playing to absolutely being crushed by the weight of her transgressions was heart wrenching.
Of course, all of the adults went to comfort her and my son went to hug his little cousin and let her know that it was no big deal that she broke the toy.
But after thinking about this it struck me how different we act as adults when we do something wrong.
Emma knew that after breaking the balloon it could never be made whole again. She knew that even though it was an accident, it was her actions that caused it.
How different from the way we behave as adults.
When we do something wrong, we may feel remorse over it, but not at that gut-wrenching level of immediate remorse.
Usually we try to rationalize it away or hide what we have done. We make excuses for why the person we wronged wronged us first. We say that they deserve it and we aren’t perfect. We are content with leaving the discarded pieces of our mess on the ground and going forward and finding a new toy to play with.
I wonder why we don’t rush into the arms of our Father with a broken heart like little Emma did?
It is funny how kids can teach us such grown-up lessons.
Perhaps it is time to remember what it felt like when you were a kid and your world was a lot smaller. It really felt like the end of the world when you hurt someone else. You immediately felt crushed and you tried to fix what was wrong. You went running to Mom or Dad and begged them to fix the pain you felt.
Why don’t we do that now?
It was a wonderful image to see my brother scoop his little girl up into his arms and wipe away her tears. To tell her that it was ok and that Joel still was her friend and that she didn’t do it on purpose.
That is what God wants to do for us.
I know that the consequences of damaging a relationship carry a lot more weight than the consequences of breaking a toy, and the healing process is a much longer road.
But the grace offered in forgiveness feels just the same.
You can leave a comment by clicking here.