Loving each other in our weaknesses
I pulled into my friend’s driveway to drop my oldest son, Cal, off at a birthday party. I left my two younger guys in the car while I walked Cal to the front door. I’d only been outside of the car for two minutes when I returned to find my two younger sons crying and screaming at one another. It happens that fast, doesn’t it! In horror and confusion I asked, “What could have possibly gone this awry in two minutes?”
Their words starting flying........
“He was shaking my head while I was stuck in my car seat,” Owen screamed.
“Well he won’t share his toy with me,” Brennan shouted back.
“He took my toy and he won’t give it back,” Owen interupted before Brennan could finish his words…..
And for the grand finale, Brennan fought back, “He said he hates me!”
“NO I DIDN’T,” Owen gasped, and then real tears began to fall.
My friend and I watched the scene unravel. I looked at her, she looked at me. We both looked tired but she has five kids so this was actually nothing to her! We said goodbye as I jumped in the car, and the only words I could seem to find for my boys were, “Seriously, guys? I mean, seriously!” Eloquent, I was not. I asked for silence while I thought about how to handle this one, and prayed, "Lord, give me wisdom."
Still feeling ill-equipped and short on patience I asked them to each separately tell me what happened.
They both shared their side of the story, and they both tried to start with “He ………”
I interrupted, "Oh no. No, no, no. You guys know, when I ask you to tell me what happened, you always start with 'I……..' I want to know what you did, and your brother can tell me what he did. You don’t need to speak for each other. Stick to your part."
So they each shared their role in the problem. When they were done telling me how life is unfair and sharing is really hard (both of which I agreed with!) I said, “Guys, there are a lot of things we could pull apart here but what concerns me most is what you said Brennan. You told me that Owen said he hated you. But Owen said he did not. So now I need you each to commit to telling me the truth when I ask you this next question. Are you ready?” They both mummbled, “yes.” I was tired so I setttled for mummbling.
“Owen, did you, or did you not say you hated Brennan?”
“No, mom, I didn’t” Owen spoke softly, as the leftover tears dried on his cheeks.
I turned to Brennan. “Okay. Brennan, now it’s your turn. Are you sure Owen said he hated you?”
After a few moments of staring blankly at me……. he spoke these words, “Will you be mad if I tell you I lied the first time?”
I turned from his direction so he couldn’t see the giggle I held under my breath.
“Brennan, I don’t want you to worry about whether I will be mad or not. I don't want you to think about pleasing me. I want you to be honest so you don't carry the guilt that comes with lying. And I want you to remember that whatever you did wrong has already been forgiven and paid for in Jesus. Ask God to give you a heart that desires honesty. You are free to tell the truth."
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness ~ 1 John 1:9
Brennan paused, took a deep breath and said, “No, he didn’t say that mom. I lied.”
This time I made sure he could see the look on my face.
“Brennan, I am so proud of you. I know it wasn’t easy to admit you lied the first time, and I am really thankful that you chose honesty this time. It shows me you listened to and obeyed the Holy Spirit’s conviction in your heart. When you’re ready I’d like you to ask Owen for forgiveness. And I’d like you to be specific with what you did that needs forgiveness."
Brennan didn’t waste any time.
“Owen, I’m sorry for lying about you and saying you said you hated me. Will you forgive me?”
Owen didn’t waste any time either. He simply replied, “I forgive you, Brenny” with a genuine smile now on his face.
Sweet forgiveness. The gift God has given us freely and generously in Jesus.
Seeing my boys reconcile with one another.
Seeing my boys humble themselves before one another.
Seeing my boys learn to love each other in their weaknesses.
Seeing my boys live in light of the forgiveness that Christ first gives them.
It reminds me ......... I have a lot to learn from these little guys. I'm not just teaching them, they're teaching me. God isn't just using me to mold them, He's using them to mold me. We're in this together.
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