Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hope and Grace

Hope seems to be fixated on right and wrong lately. And, people, there are no gray areas as far as she can tell.

Here is an example. She fell apart once last week because her little neighbor friend was over and, while they were playing, her friend told a lie. I caught her right in the middle of it, too. Hope looked at me as if to say, " something." And I did. I tried to gently correct this little girl and give her a way out, which, after a lot of prodding, she finally took and told the truth. Good for her. So, I let it go at that. Hope was so irritated with me and kept insisting that she had "lied! She LIED, mom!" I finally sent the little girl home so I could deal with my own. And I tried to explain to Hope that what she did was wrong, but that we had to have grace with people. That her friend had had a really tough life and it was a big deal that she had decided to tell the truth. We needed to try and be happy about that. She was not happy.

Earlier in the week she had a "great idea" on the way home from small group. "How about I make a chart." (I'm liking it so far. I LOVE charts!) "And every time Bella does something wrong, we make a mark on the chart. That way we have a record of it." Ugh. Not liking it so much anymore. I was glad she said the word "record", though (It's so funny that she said that, anyway. How would she even know what that meant?) because it quickly called to mind the verse in 1 Corinthians 13 that talks about how "love keeps no record of wrongs." Whew! That almost never happens for me. I almost never know a great verse off the top of my head for correcting my children. So, we chatted some about that and she seemed to understand.

I was frustrated, though. Why was Hope so obsessed with justice? Didn't we model grace and mercy in our home and with others? Where had we gone wrong? And then, as I read in Psalm one morning, I was struck by these words, "The Lord loves justice..." (11:7), "righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne..." (97:2), "I will sing of your love and justice..." (101:1). And God used it to speak to my heart. He reminded me to be thankful that Hope has a strong sense of right and wrong...cause she's gonna need it. And, he reminded me that understanding right and wrong is an essential part of understanding grace. So, that morning as I prayed for Hope, I thanked God for the work He was doing in her, a work that was preparing her for the many choices ahead. And I thanked him for what he would teach her about grace, through her understanding of right and wrong. That he was preparing her heart, even now, for a greater understanding of her need for him.

And then I thanked God that my sweet and sassy six year old, the first child that he lovingly enfolded into our story, would always be a reminder that while he loves justice, he is quite the show off when it comes to giving us a gazillion times more than we deserve.

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