Last night my son Taylor woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream. I went up and tried to console him with the usual drill. I went back downstairs after speaking a few words to him but in a few minutes we heard in the monitor that he was whimpering again about this dream. My wife Kim went up the 2nd time and tried to console him. A few weeks ago when Taylor had a bad dream he asked to sleep with Mommy in the guest room and she did. He wanted to do this again, but since we didn’t want to make this a pattern she said no and told him that he needed to go back to sleep. This didn’t go over very well and thus he decided to throw a bit of a fit. At 3am, a fit from your 5-year-old is not exactly something that Daddy is super pumped about, so I went upstairs again to deal with the madness.
I spoke some very pointed words and made it clear that I expected him to calm down and he did. In the morning I felt convicted that I was not as gentle with Taylor as I should have been so I pulled him aside to chat with him. I asked him to forgive me for not being as gentle as I should have been. I made it clear that his fit was not acceptable, but that Daddy wants to strive to be more gentle in the way that he deals with him. I said, “Will you forgive me?”
His eyes softened and he immediately said a genuine, “Yes”, and gave me a big hug.
In that moment the truth of Jesus’ words, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” sank deep into my heart.
I was taught a powerful gospel lesson on forgiveness by my son Taylor:
1. He was so quick to forgive. There was no sense of grudge-leaning hesitation or qualification. It was an immediate and joyful, “Yes!”
2. He was so eager to have the relationship restored. Right after he forgave me he wanted to be with me and asked right away if we could play basketball. It was as if it never happened. It was gone, never to be brought up again. He embodied Psalm 103:11,12 in his love for me: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
3. There was no hint of superficiality. It was completely genuine and real, evidenced by the demeanor of his behavior in the following moments.
How refreshing to see forgiveness modeled in this way for me from my 5-year-old! I ask myself and you: How are we doing in embodying the gospel by being child-like in the way we forgive? Are we quick to genuinely forgive for the sake of love and relationship restoration? I pray for the grace to follow my son’s lead and truly become like children in this way.