Happy Friday Friends,
It’s snowing again in Northern Virginia, but the signs and promise of Spring are not undone by a powdered sugar dusting. Today is the official start, no matter how white the landscape!
I received a birthday card this week. Yes, my birthday was back in January, but that day was a little hectic. My older son had a basketball game about fifteen miles from home — which is further than it sounds with DC traffic. It feels like a hike on the weekend with light traffic, but this was a Thursday night. A victory and a stop at Krispy Kreme on the way home made it all worthwhile. Will, Sam and I, along with pretty much every family from both teams, made the stop. I mean the sign was lit. How can one resist hot Krispy Kremes?
By the time we got home it was already nine o’clock. My husband and Nate had returned from a different, more local basketball game. A friend and her three sons were there too. The eight of them sang happy birthday and we had hot donuts and Pralines and Cream ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. Yes, six boys infused with more bedtime sugar than is at all wise. At some point, little Will said, “Mom, I made you a card, but I don’t know where it is.” And I didn’t think a thing of it. But this week, he came and handed me the card he found in his less-than-immaculate room, and smiled his melt-your-heart smile. Yes, he is my son, but I truly believe the child has been given one of the most magical smiles God has ever bestowed.
The card is not fancy, and only contains a few sentences. But one phrase really touched my heart. He wrote, “I think you are the best forgiver in the world.” Now, I need to tell you that I’m really not. You hear about people who’ve forgiven their child’s murderer, or other offenses that seem impossible to forgive. By God’s grace, that’s not my story. My son wasn’t referring to anything profound. I think he thinks I’m just good at day-to-day forgiving. But maybe that is profound. It’s certainly a lovely compliment to receive on your birthday, or in this case, two months later. And I do often tell my sons, when things go south and so that means often, that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and so are mine.
Receiving a sincere compliment gives you immediate motivation to live up to it. So what makes someone a good forgiver? We have the ideal model of forgiveness woven throughout the Bible. David poetically said that his sins were forgiven as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103). Jesus taught us to pray about forgiving others as we are forgiven (Matthew 6), which makes forgiveness like so many other aspects of spiritual life: you can give it, because you’ve received it.
When you stop to think about all you have been forgiven, it humbles you, softens the posture of your heart toward others, dissipates any inclination to judge or condemn. A grateful heart that knows forgiveness can hardly help but forgive. It’s the way God designed it.
If I want to be the world’s best forgiver, at least in my son’s eyes, then I need to regularly acknowledge all I’ve been forgiven. It’s there in that humbled, grateful state-of-mind that I can be the person my handsome, winsome boy thinks I am.
Lamentations 3:22 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” May the steadfast love that we daily receive allow us to love our families in the same way.
Thanks for reading! It means so much.