He was three months old when we dedicated him, a commitment as parents to raise our son in an environment that models Christ. We were new to that particular church and after the service a man stepped forward and let us know as we prayed, he “saw” our son in a snapshot of sorts, and he was preaching.
That was an encouraging vision but through the years we’ve relied on God to guide us in all the plans He has for our now almost teen. When I pray I often have the words “a modern David” in mind because as flawed as I found David, he remains for all of history a “man after God’s own heart.”
Our guy who resembles that statement blew me away this month. Seventh grade is hard on so many levels. It’s an academic challenge yet his grades excel. Junior High is when changes happen—socially, physically and often spiritually. He’s dealing with all these things, trusting God to show Him the way. There have been great days and days so devastating I thought I’d go to school and sit by him all day to ensure no one mess with him.
God has a better plan than that.
Recently he had an upsetting experience. Some hurtful words were directed his way and he also overheard statements that disrespected elders. These things were becoming a habit and it was starting to affect his day. We talked, agreed on a course of action, and the school was notified. The lines of communication were quickly opened to include everyone.
In a short amount of time an apology was given. More than that, an explanation. Turns out what I tell others played out here: wounded people wound people. A great kid who tried reaching out couldn’t take the rejection and decided to join the crowd and say what too many kids speak so freely. His parents had no idea the hurt he was hiding and the direction he was taking. In minutes the boy was repentant and the family committed to work together to work it all out.
One variable stood in the way.
Our 12 year old.
The neatest thing happened. He literally stood. He stood and faced the family and defended their son, the same child that only a day before devastated him with words. He explained how hard it must have been to reach out and not receive anything in return. He agreed with their son how hard it is to keep a Christian stand, even in a Christian school.
Then he forgave. Without hesitation.
Then he made sure everyone knew about this boy, the truth about him. That he is so much more than the words they heard, he was a neat kid worth knowing. And whether or not anyone else was going to try, our son was going to befriend this kid.
And he has.
In return, the boy went to every student in class and asked for their forgiveness. Do you know adults who would be that strong? I was in school a lot this week and came across this boy often. He came up to me immediately and asked for my forgiveness.
Then he hugged me.
It’s not just a Southern expression, it was a fragrance that permeated my week.
Will you operate in mercy this week?