Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Lesson in Forgiveness

Last week I blogged about the cool car show we went to see. We were having a wonderful time until....

Someone ruined it.

Let me back track. When we arrived, I gave the kids strict instructions to NOT TOUCH any of the cars. At the first car we viewed, SaraGrace reminded them again, "DO NOT TOUCH any of the cars! Just look!"

Moving through the line of cars, SaraGrace aka: 'She-who-will-not-be-ignored' continued to shout occasional reminders to NOT TOUCH.

The kids were doing great. There were a few times when they leaned in to see the interiors that they touched by accident, but most of the time, they waited to be lifted up.

So, after a half hour of good behavior, I was lagging behind a bit to get some photographs of the cars. The kids were still doing fine with Jeff and the older girls, and 'She-who-will-not-be-ignored.'

Suddenly, an older man came up to me and said angrily, "You have a lot of kids but you're not watching them. Well, I've been watching them and they are going around pounding on the windows of cars. They pounded on my car." Then he turned on his heel and stalked off.

I was so shocked that I just stammered an apology. I couldn't imagine that my kids were doing that in the short time I had lagged behind. I quickly went to Jeff to tell him and he was also shocked. The big girls defended the little kids by saying that they had not even been touching any cars, much less banging on the windows.
{These are the same girls who will rat out their younger siblings at every opportunity, so I believed them when they said the little kids were behaving.}

Hot-under-the-collar-man continued to send hostile glances in my direction while I tried to ascertain what had happened.

{Just so you know, if my children HAD been guilty, I would have marched them over to the angry man and had them apologize. I'm not one of those mom's who labors under the delusion that my kids can do no wrong.}

It became apparent that the kids were being falsely accused. And my Injustice-O-Meter started to get into the dangerously high red zone.

I was so seriously ticked off. The nerve of that guy! What possessed him to make that up?

And I could not calm down. We were winding down our evening anyway, and as we started to head to our car, my Injustice-O-Meter was in danger of exploding.

Once in the car, I started to pray...and to try to talk myself out of being so mad. It was just some guy. What did I care what he thought?

It didn't work.

I was steaming.
{A little hint about me. Nothing pushes my buttons more than some injustice. And if it happens to be directed at my family...well....}

I knew it was stupid. But I couldn't stop being mad.

And then God said in His usual quiet way...' need to forgive him.'

'But I'm not done being mad at him, God.'

'Suit yourself, but if you forgive him you won't be mad anymore.'


I reluctantly said, 'OK. I forgive him." Not that the guy deserved it. Not that it changed anything about what he had done. But the decision I made was to free myself from the anger I felt.

All I did was make a decision. The angry feelings were still there when I said I forgave him.

We arrived home and got the kids to bed when I suddenly realized that I was no longer angry.
At all.
I had originally wanted to write a blog post excoriating the guy but I couldn't even work myself up.
I tried.
Nope. Nothin'.
I was freed.

God is so amazing when we obey Him!! He didn't want me to forgive just so I could be self-righteous or take the high road. He just wanted to free me from the destructive anger that I was feeling. And I didn't have to do anything except say, "I forgive that guy." God did all the rest and I was FREE.

I love God. He's so cool.


Sharon said...

Oh I would have been mad too...the nerve of him!!! So glad you listened to God and are feeling better. Thanks for sharing! :)

Kimberlie said...

God IS so cool. I am glad you got to let go of your anger. I had to smile at that Veggie Tales moment (aka the Angry Eyebrows). Sometimes I think people are just prejudiced - against people of a different color and against large families. Mean, mean, meanie man!

Kim K. said...

You are a better person than me. I'm not always good at forgiveness. Beautiful post and reminder, Karin.

Gretchen said...

NICE!! I would have been dangerously close to going over there and talking with said 'nice' man ;) You took the better road. I'm so proud of you!!

GrangerBaxters said...

Hot-under-the-collar-man - that's just stupid.

trustandobey said...

Thanks for the reminder. Anger and resentment just hurts us. Usually the offender couldn't care less. Forgiveness is for us and God wants us to experience it to the fullest.

Kristin Ferguson said...

Good reminder Karin. I have an Injustice-O-Meter that dials up pretty quickly as well! Forgiveness is truly a supernatural phenomenon!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Oh this resonates so much with me Karin. I wish I would have had the same wisdom the other evening when I stayed awake ALL night trying to think of how to confront a situation that was upsetting me. It wasn't until the next afternoon when I realized I just needed to forgive them (the person didn't even know I felt insulted and certainly didn't intend to do so) and let it go. And a little while afterward, I could hardly believe that I had almost created an uncomfortable situation when it was completely unnecessary. It took me a couple days to catch up on that sleep, so I hope I learned my lesson. Thanks for reinforcing it!

Love how to referred to your Injustice-O-meter. I think all moms have that!