I Can’t.

Jeering. Ridiculing. Hissing, even. I could see the glaring of the eyes and tongues sticking out in disgust even though I was upstairs.

Sibling love and sibling rivalry. There’s nothing like it.

Sometimes I let them “work it out,” and sometimes I yell. And sometimes, less often than I care to admit, I see it as a teaching moment. After all, I do love them too much to (sometimes) let them act that way. That’s the way that leads to hatred, and danger, and destruction.

The boy is brought upstairs in his fury. Self-control is not his strength. His chest heaves and his voice has reached decibels of rarity.

In patience, my voice is calm. Eventually his fury turns to tears. “It’s not fair! She’s so mean!”

“I know. It wasn’t fair. And it was mean… What if every time we did something unfair and mean to God, He just screamed and ran away?”

More tears. “You’re making me feel bad!” (Is a conscience beginning to melt?)

“But what if He did? Where would that leave us?”

He’s thinking (and crying).

“What does He do instead of screaming and running away? Isn’t His grace always bigger? Doesn’t He always forgive?”

“But I can’t!”

Some of the best words a parent can hear in a moment like this.

“You’re right. You can’t. I can’t. Which is why He’s done it for us. And then you know what? After He forgives us because we can’t, He gives us His strength so that we can.”

Teaching moment seized and utilized, the boy lumbers to his room in thought. A few minutes later he bounds down the steps with a few books in hand, sidles up between me and the mean one, and shares his blanket across our laps. His heavy heart has been lightened.

This morning, I find myself sharing an extra tiny kitchen. We’re both running late, both needing the counter space, breakfast, and the coffee. Early mornings don’t make us the prettiest people, and his words cut a little too sharp.

It wasn’t on my face, but you could see my glaring eyes and tongue sticking out in disgust anyway.

Sin. There’s nothing like it.

We kept dancing our fragile dance around our egg shells in the kitchen. Humility is not my strength.

He left for work. I finished packing kids’ lunches.

But sometimes, in moments of obvious mercy, it’s blaringly blatant that I’m loved too much to be allowed down that path of danger and destruction. By way of ritual, the Psalms are read before sending the kids off to the bus, and by way of mercy, calm and patient words melted my conscience.

When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.”

I can’t. But because of His “relentless, transforming, little-moment grace,” He has.

Teaching moment seized and utilized, heart lighter, sins forgiven, I am empowered to go and do likewise.

~ I’m thankful for the words from Paul Tripp and Psalm 65 this morning.



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