Generation Cedar

Even though I’m in a hurry, I prop on my full shopping cart 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?

“As a mom, I find a hundred love-lessons like these to teach a day.”

“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?” choose to ask myself.

“Love covers over an offense”.

I’m only just learning, at 38 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 relatives?

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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21 Responses

  1. Do I need to tell you how much I struggle with this (well, maybe I do need to confess!)? One of our family mottos is “worry about what you’re doing, not so much about what everyone else is doing”. It serves so well, but it is hard to remember when the temptation is to use other people’s bad behavior as an excuse for my own, and getting even deeper, to stop judging other people’s behavior at all based on incomplete information and careless assumptions, and instead remember how I would want to be given the benefit of the doubt even in my less than stellar moments. Condemnation is an ugly reflex, and our children adopt it too easily.

    Thank you for your sweet words today – I’ll pray we’re all big enough.

  2. Thank you for a needed and excellent post. Why does it take us so long to learn this lesson? I am 35 and after memorizing I Cor. 13 as a family (I learned it as a child), I am just now catching on. Lord help me!

  3. We want to be big enough, but I think it is more than that.

    I love that example you give of a mother walking beside her children giving gentle wisdom on how to love through the offenses. If only we knew the Lord well enough to know that He does that exact thing with us.

    Usually, I am so concerned about turning “the offender” into my own image instead of being changed myself into the image of Christ.

  4. Wow, wonderful reminder! Just as I think I am conquering this, it sneaks back in. Offense is in so many things we don’t even think about. When I read the book “The Bait of Satan,” which is all about offense, I sure got spanked. And I was someone who was pretty non-offendable, or so I thought.

    Really enjoyed your reminder.

  5. I, too, have been thinking about this verse and actually struggle with it in child-rearing. I want my love to cover a multitude of sins but how does discipline fit in? As I think more of this, I think of patience and a phrase I learned from some of my Doorposts materials – patience is giving people time to grow. Love covering sins doesn’t harbor anger or resentment or bitterness at the slow spiritual growth and maturity of people around us (when they repeat the same offenses.) I must discipline my children for sin and disobedience but love covering their sin means I don’t speak about it with others, I don’t rehash forgiven offenses, I forgive 70 x 7, etc. It’s definitely a process and journey…

  6. So timely for me. As we encountered a relative today that recently persecuted us for our faith I could sense my daughter watching me to see if I was truly forgiving. “Love covers over an offense.” This also applies to me because I have been feeling mighty sorry for myself over a friendship situation that is beginning to feel one sided. Thank you for posting!

  7. I have been on the receiving end of that kind of love and two of those things that you stated are true for me. My children are healthy and well. I must say on more than one occasion a perfect stranger has stepped in for me when I have forgotten my money at home and stood in line humiliated at the checkout until he paid the bill for me (similar other things have happened like this)

    2 things:
    1: Those who realize what has been done are eternally grateful and forever touched by the blessing of God through the love of that other person.

    2: An act of kindness and Christ-like love would never seek any recognition for what has been done. Not only that but the act is no longer motivated by love if it seeks recognition for what was done, but becomes an attempt for the flesh to stroke your ego of good deeds.

    That being said I know how quickly and easily the flesh can intrude and try and undermine our every attempt to follow after Christ in all that we do. I struggle with this constantly. I appreciate this article and look forward to reading more…

  8. I think you’re right that self-centeredness can cause us to be quickly offended, at real or perceived slights. And oh how I wish it weren’t so easy to gravitate toward self-centeredness rather than Christ-centeredness!

    Thanks for the post…one I definitely needed.

  9. Wait… Are you letting her go before you because you want gratefulness from her or because you are selfless and want to help? It’s not her behavior that is in question here – no matter if she has a “real” reason to be self-absorbed. Your intentions here are what matters more. If you just did that in selflessness, her attitude should not phase you. If you did it for recognition, then you are taking is personnally – but how is this person to know you are expecting a certain behavior from her? You are putting expectations on her, when you should be focusing on your behavior.

    1. Yes, Sophie, that is the point of the post…that our flesh gets offended wrongfully (selfishness) when real love keeps no record and doesn’t behave out of a motive for self-gratification.

  10. Love it! Dear friend, this is so big in our world right now too! We fall so much, but I am encouraged that these precious ones are learning this now, not at 45. We are in what we call “love bootcamp” Do we realy LOVE? so easy to say “i love you”, but do my actions and words show it? We all memorize and can rattle off 1 Cor. 13, but do i live it everyday?! tough quesions. Praise God, His grace is sufficient.

    Sending lots and lots of love and hugs to you my dear friend. Your family is still on my heart and in my prayers!

    Michelle

  11. Thank you! I am going to a Women’s Retreat (Tres Dias) in two weeks, and the theme is “do all things with love.” If you don’t mind, I would like to print this out and distribute it! Thanks again!

  12. Our devotions this week were all about being kind and gentle to one another. We read I Cor 13 yesterday and today was Romans 13 about owning nothing but love to our neighbor. I never knew that having children would bring me so much closer to God. There are so many people in the world missing out on the opportunity to know Christ more, simply because they refuse children.

    thanks for this post. 🙂 tereza

  13. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been struggling with this myself for the past few months. How encouraging to know that I am not the only one who struggles with this and that there is hope through Christ’s strength!

  14. Thank you, Kelly, for your words. The Lord had convicted me today of this particular sin in my life and your post was what I needed to read to further show me what the Lord commands for His glory. I am thankful for the instrument you are in the Lord’s hands to help me. There are so many ways in the past few years that the Lord has used your words to teach me, convict me, help me…I thank the Lord for you! May the Lord bless you richly! with love from a sister in Christ, Heather

  15. Oh, the Lord knew I needed to read this today as my husband came home from work grumpy and I’m having a hard time looking over some of his offenses. I don’t want a minor conflict to set the tone for our entire evening and ruin any chance of quality family time. This is something that’s been on my heart lately and definitely something I desire to teach my children. When we’re easily offended, we’re choosing to be imprisoned by those feelings (or even when we are justly offended). I don’t want them to spend years being enslaved before figuring it out, as I have. I’ll be sharing this around! Thanks!
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

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