I knew I shouldn't do it. I knew I would pay the price, for sitting in front of the TV, until after 11 last night, but sometimes a mom just needs time to be awake, without using her brain. It was a rough bed time, complete with threats, and yelling and ending with laughter, when my 10 yr old son says 'Mom, can we just put on clean underwear." I know it's hard for them to understand why I turn into a raving lunatic after 9, but MOMS, you know... there's just a limit to how much we can take. With much relief I floated down the stairs, after kissing cheeks, and tucking in covers, and I plopped myself down in front of the tube. I stayed there for longer than I should have just trying to release all the pressure from a day full of endless questions, too many snacks, fighting and whining... don't get me wrong... I LOVE this life and there are 1000 good things that happen each day, I just forget those easier.
As usual, my instincts were right, after seeing the clock a couple times in the night, and climbing in the brick hard toddler bed, I realize I made a mistake last night. At 5 he is fully awake from his fitful sleep and says "Mommy, I want to get up." NOOOOOO. I try everything I can to get him back to sleep, but I know it's not happening this morning. So, in a no-sleep hangover, that I know coffee won't cure, we trudge off to the couch to watch some TV. If you've never been this kind of mom... stop reading! At this point I'm so glad it's summer break and that I picked up a big bag of cereal at Walmart last night, because my eyes will not stay open. After an hour of sleeping on the couch, while he watches cartoons, my 6 yr old comes down the stairs... AWESOME! My moment of escape, he can work the remote. I pick up my pillow from the couch and head back to bed.
Not sure how long I was sleeping, but I'm woken by the demands of a little tyrant. He's yelling at that big brother hit him and that I need to do something about it. I do the standard yell into the living room "Andrew be nice". That isn't gonna work this morning... baby bro is on the warpath and he wants justice. He demands that I go get the paddle and spank his horrible, no good, big brother. Finally, I'm feeling human again and I know that coffee can finally do it's thang and I can think clearly. Looking down into his little cherub face I have to tell him, "Well, if I spank him for hitting, then I have to spank you for hitting." It only takes a second for him to understand what that means and a smile spreads across his face and he turns around and runs out of the room. He is overjoyed, because he knows there have been many times he has been let off the hook.
Yes, it doesn't take me long to realize that once again the Lord is using my little children to teach me powerful truths. As Jesus reminded the crowd that brought the woman "caught in adultery", when they wanted to test him and see if he would keep the law or defend the sinner, the most beautiful words flow from the lips of the God/Man... "He among you without sin, cast the first stone." As each man from the oldest to the youngest let those words sink in, they turn and walk away, because they know they are all guilty. Isn't it funny how we always want justice for other people, but we want mercy and grace for our sin. Isn't it funny how we see the sin of others and think them monsters, but we see ours as harmless. Isn't it funny that when we hurt other people, all we want is forgiveness, but we are so set on vengeance when it happens to us?!?!
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, EVEN AS GOD, for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32
Even as God has forgiven us. He has set the standard for us. He has shown us the way and paid the ultimate price. There is nothing that another person can do to us that God has not already forgiven us for. We need a right view of ourselves. We need to remember what we have been forgiven for and extend that grace and mercy to the people who have wronged us. Even as God has forgiven us.
The alternative is unthinkable... Jesus said, "If you do not forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will not forgive yours." I can't bear to think of not being forgiven, so I must extend grace to the people who have wronged me. It's when we are fully aware of our sin and what Christ has done for us, that we can forgive freely those who have hurt us.
Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is giving us what we didn't earn. Just as God as forgiven us...