Tonight, I disciplined a child for something he did not do. I had faulty information and I did not take the time to hear the whole story. It was the end of the day and every ounce of patience had already been drained from my body. I did not allow him to explain, I simply laid out the punishment and sent him off to bed. No explanations, no second chances, no mercy.
It was my mom fail of the day. When the rest of the story came out he was already in bed and now I have to wait until tomorrow to apologize. The failure hangs over me like a dark cloud and the guilt overflows from my eyes. I wonder what he thought as he tried to fall asleep. I wonder if he recounted all the times I have told him to carefully examine the facts before accusing someone. I wonder if he thought of all the lectures I have given on being slow to speak and quick to listen. I wonder how he reconciles my words with my actions.
I do not know what he is thinking tonight, but I know what will happen tomorrow. In the morning when he wakes up, I will be anxiously waiting. I will tell him I made a mistake and that sometimes, even Mommy gets it wrong. That sometimes in the midst of training hearts to love, ears to listen, and mouths to be kind, even Mommy messes it up. I will tell him I will try harder next time to muster up some extra patience to make sure I have the facts.
And when I tell him I am sorry and that I love him, that little boy will smile, look at me with his big brown eyes and say, “That’s OK, Mommy, I forgive you.” He will hug me and skip out of the room like it never even happened. There is not a doubt in my mind, I know that is how he will respond.
That’s how children love, with tender grace and endless mercy. Forgiveness flows freely and love grows effortlessly.
I cannot wait for that moment, the opportunity to make things right with my son. The moment of restoration between mother and son. It reminds me of the kind of forgiveness Jesus offers.
When Jesus went to the cross it was based on faulty information. He had not committed any crime, He had not broken any laws, He had not done any wrong. He was punished for something He did not do and just as I desire that restoration with my son, I also need it from Jesus because I fail him daily. I want to tell him I am sorry for falling short, for trying to do things my own way, for holding tightly to things I should let go of, for spending too much time chasing things that simply do not matter.
And when I tell Him I am sorry, He will smile. That’s how Jesus loves, with tender grace and endless mercy. Forgiveness flows freely and love grows effortlessly.
I will try again tomorrow to be a better mom than I was today.
And I will try to be a little more like Jesus.