Little grandchildren are always honest, even when you don’t want them to be. Last Sunday was our Father’s House Christmas Breakfast complete with pancakes, bacon, and lots of adults and kids. Our missionary-home-on-vacation, Dow Saunders, gave a brief Christmas message on forgiveness before we dined. Well timed since most everyone had just spent several days with family and were probably feeling a little of the frustration and offence that often accompanies a gathering of relatives.
Just as Dow began the most important point of his message, my granddaughter, Paisley, loudly demanded that her sister, Karalee, get her hands off her water cup—“Right now!” A two-year-old can be quite vocal when she has been offended. The aspect of sitting in a room full of people who are trying to hear a sermon didn’t deter Paisley’s anger and mission. She wanted her water cup untouched, and dang if she wasn’t going to make Karalee suffer for her insensitivity. Forgiveness definitely was not on the menu at this breakfast table.
I loved it—what a perfect illustration of unforgiveness among relatives. Being proper adults we seldom manifest our offenses in a large gathering of people—at least not usually in church. We will think all kinds of things, but that doesn’t mean we will voice them. That’s too bad, because it means we seldom express forgiveness either. We don’t view forgiveness as a gift we can minister to another.
Am I suggesting that we should all be more vocal in church about our offenses? No, I’m suggesting that we be more aware of our offenses and how each offense is an opportunity to give a gift to another—the gift of forgiveness. This is something Paisley is just now beginning to learn under the careful tutoring of her mother and father. They’re workin’ on it, but it isn’t easy for a two-year-old . . . or a 50-year-old.
How did your relationships survive over the holidays? Did you have opportunities to give the gift of forgiveness? Inquiring minds want to know.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis