My husband happened to be sitting on the porch, and overheard the conversation around the corner of the house between my daughter and three of her neighborhood friends.
“Sorry Lauryn,” one said. “My mom said only two friends could come inside my house….so you can’t come.”
So off the three others went, to play inside a neighbor’s house, while my daughter was left sitting alone. Left behind. Ouch.
Her feelings were understandably hurt.
Oh how I pray for wisdom in times like this.
After choking back my first response of, “Just don’t play with those girls anymore. You have plenty of other friends”, I heard myself talking about forgiveness and second chances instead. It’s a familiar refrain, “Love your enemies. Do good to them.”
I want her to forgive, yes. But more than that, I pray she will know the reason Christ-followers are able love our enemies, and do good to those who are not good to us. I want the truths that are the foundation for our forgiveness of others to take deep, deep root in her heart. We can forgive… because we really are okay. We’re okay, regardless of what others may do or say. We can be hurt, but then we give that hurt to Jesus. He takes our burden. He reminds us that we can forgive, because we have been forgiven so much. His love, his acceptance – it fills us, and it is ENOUGH.
Words and wounds hurt us. But they don’t leave us undone, because we are safe and secure and loved in Jesus.
We can offer second and third and fourth chances to people. If they respond like we hope they will – with returned love and kindness – it’s so, so good. But if they fail us again or hurt us again, it’s okay, because our feelings and attitude and self-worth don’t change and shift and move based on how others treat us. We are consistent and strong and joyful and peaceful because of who God is in our lives, and how he reveals his unchanging, never-shifting, never-failing love.
She’s seven years old.
There are more hurt feelings to come, I’m well aware. The wounds get deeper the older she gets. Her heart will be broken by a boy…she’ll feel infuriated with her parents…she’ll endure nearly crushing best-friend betrayals. We all go through it. But I pray that she will learn sooner rather than later that Jesus really is her safe place. That she would hide in the cleft of the Rock, knowing that although the forgiveness and grace he asks us to extend is difficult at times, that he always provides the power to do so.
May I know the same.