Generation Cedar

Even though I’m in a hurry, I prop on my full buggy and motion her, with her three items in hand, to go in front of me…it’s only treating her the way I want to be treated.  But then, the hasty shuffle past me, and never a grateful glance.

A short response from someone I love…

a perceived wound…

A thousand small injustices a day have only the power we give them…will I nurse my wound, blame, wear my feelings in a vulnerable place, or will I give others the benefit of the doubt?

“Who knows what that woman may be dealing with:  a terminally ill child she is hurrying back home to nurse?  Financial burdens larger than life?  An abusive husband?” I choose to ask myself.

“Love covers over an offense”.

I’m only just learning, at 37 years old, to look over offenses.  And I’m still very bad at it.  At least the thought occurs to me, and I’m praying earnestly that those thoughts would grow into more follow through.

As a mom, I find a hundred love-lessons like these to teach a day.  If we can cultivate a heart of looking over offenses in our children, imagine how we put them ahead!  Would you agree that this one character trait or flaw, whichever it is, is the source of so much violence, family turmoil and broken homes?  Think about the trail of disaster left in the wake of one of these tragedies when, who knows, had one party only had a mother walking beside him every day, spurring him to true Love, shaping a heart that is able to let an offense go, the whole chain of events may have never existed.

Left alone, the misery of self-centeredness–(for that is the vice that causes us to be quickly offended) will eat them alive.  But with careful pruning, day by day we speak into their lives…“Love keeps no record of wrongs”, and they are transformed by that truth. “Maybe your sister just needs a gentle word…”

Do I model it for them?   Do my children learn from the way I speak of others to cover offenses?  (This is a real question I’m asking myself right now as I write.)  What about my reactions to my husband or in-laws?

Thinking the best of people, letting things go, covering up offenses…this is the stuff of Christian love.  Are we big enough?

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19 Responses

  1. Gack, the modeling….I left a shadow box frame – fresh from Michael’s, on sale, saved for, waited for, paid for in dollar bills no less – in the middle of the l/r floor along with my project stuff around it. To go to the bathroom. I know better than to think nothing will happen while I’m in the bathroom. As if by magic, all the tiny variables of life culminate into a surge of emergencies when a Mom closes that door. The kids had dutifully retreated to the play area, as I instructed, so it wouldn’t get stepped on. One thoughtful little soul also remembered the instructions I’ve given day after day for weeks to not let the dog scratch on the door when she wants in, but to let her in when they see her there waiting. And the same little soul stepped around Mom’s ill-fated (dumbly left!) shadow box, but dog did not. Crack.

    They assumed, all of them (except the dog), that THEY would be in trouble. For following instructions, for my careless action. I felt so sad I teared up. They truly need many many gentle words. Amen.

  2. You called it a buggy! I thought only Pittsburghers did that. I think it’s charming.

    I never seem to have only 3 items to buy anymore, but I almost always let those that do in front of me. They’re usually out the door before I can even finish unloading my groceries onto the belt!

    I do think it’s nice of the person to thank you for the gesture, but if they don’t — no biggie.

  3. It is the day by day pruning and shaping that is the most difficult, yet most important part, of being a mom! But in time, we see fruit and realize that all that time spent was worth it. I was listening to a teaching the other day that said areas of our childrens character that we don’t deal with while they are young they will be in bondage to as they are adults. I found that very interesting, and motivating to keep pressing on!

  4. i get hung up on this too, a LOT… always tempted to let every unthanked gesture and ignored kindness be my last… but i have to remind myself that to do something kind JUST because i want that thank you to feel good about myself is EVERY BIT as selfish as not thanking someone who does something nice for me… i don’t have children yet, but i know that letting love cover all offenses is something i will have to work on…

  5. Maybe it’s Canadian, but I have always received a smile, nod or ‘thank you’ for letting someone in line – and I remember to do the same! However, showing love in the event of kid-indiscretions is something I have failed at, too. Always room for improvement!

    BTW – I had to smile when you posted about a full shopping cart right after your post about Amy D 😉

  6. Thank you for this post. I needed it. I had a similar incident the other day with a young person(at church of all places).

    Regarding using the word “buggy”. I get teased all the time for saying that around here. 😀

  7. Yes, this is one of the hardest things of family life and one of the areas I fail in most miserably. How I wish I had been taught this growing up that I could be a better example to my children. How thankful I am to God that He at least has given me wisdom now to show my children the blessing of living His way and overlooking all those daily offenses. Thanks for another encouraging post.

  8. “The misery of self-centeredness”

    YES! The Lord has been showing me this one. The world tells me I need to think of *me* more to be happy. The gospel sets me free to love and think of Christ and others to have more joy. Not being easily offended really sets me free from the bondage of self!

  9. Have you ever read “the Bait of Satan” by John Bevere? It speaks to offense. It reveals area of offense we are not even aware of! I highly recommend it!
    Just yesterday a lady asked me if she would offend me if she picked the raisins out of some rolls I made. I told her she couldn’t offend me if she tried, I don’t have that much pride, and I choose to not be offended no matter what is said or done. Humorously (or not), she spent a lot of time after wards trying her best to offend me on various topics. It was sad. But I refused to take the bait. I’m telling you this because I was one of the most easily offended people out there. But God used the above book and Holy Spirit to remold my heart, mind, and attitude. HE IS GREAT! He can do anything with a willing heart: mine and everyone dissatisfied with their offense!

  10. Beautifully said, Kelly. My temper can be so raging, but the counterpart of this is how, ever since I was little, I longed to nurture people who did wrong and were hurt. I recognize this now as a maternal instinct, one God-given that Christ wishes all His daughters (and sons, to some degree) to have. I pray now that this will override my temper and that I will remember how sensitive I am to harshness when tempted to barb my tongue to others.

  11. God has really been convicting me lately how much we pray for comforts and that God would provide for us in ways that we have been accustomed to! And he does! I have never not had a need met. However, Christ came to seek and save the lost. That is HIS heart and as His children, it must be ours! Sometimes I am in such a sea of me that I forget that God does not really care what I drive or what I think I ‘need’ but He does care about my neighbor who needs to feel the love of Christ when her boyfriend has left her with 5 kids to raise on her own! The world is hurting and God’s desire is that He can use us to show them HIM! Oh how I crave to be pliable and moldable and willing to give of myself so much that it hurts! Once again, our hearts are dealing with the same thing! Thank you for blessing me!

  12. This is something that I am struggling to teach my children.
    What I want to express to them is that Love is not disturbed, and Love doesn’t disturb others.
    What practical way can I correct this when my children feel the need to report every single infraction done to them (“She’s repeating me! He hit me! She stole that toy from me! etc) ?

  13. Missi,

    That is also a constant battle in our house (and I’m sure everyone’s). Some ways I deal with it:

    1. Explain that tattling is the greater offense (unless someone is hurting something or someone) and the tattler gets the discipline (Michael Pearl’s advice)

    2. Remind them every time it happens *why* it’s not OK…that “love covers an offense” not exposes it.

    3. Remind them that for every offense they are pointing out in others, they have their own offenses that need work.

    It’s a very delicate, difficult training process that frankly just takes a lot of grit and patience 😉 This is the part I think that is as much our training as theirs.

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