Great. Now Prove It.

“I’m sorry,” he says, over and over again.  “Mom.  I’m sorry.”  This time his tone demands forgiveness.  I don’t doubt the sincerity of his apology, but I do doubt the sincerity of his remorse.  Because, you see, when he’s been told that Dad will have to deal with this situation, suddenly his apologies are much more fervent.

He apologizes over and over wanting an immediate and swift reply from me.  Sometimes I’m able to give it.  Other times I’m so frustrated that I can’t immediately verbalize my forgiveness.  Of course he’s forgiven, I just need a minute to mean it when I say it.

“I said I’m sorry!” His voice has raised a decibel and he’s noticeably frustrated at my silence.

“I heard you say it, son,” I respond.  “Now I want you to prove it.”

“Huh?” comes the standard reply.

“Prove to me you’re sorry.”


“By changing your behavior.”

For the first time, he is silent.  Blissfully silent.  My firstborn’s downfall in life will be his tongue unless he finds a way to harness it.

He walks out of the room and closes himself in his homework nook.  For twenty minutes he is back there, working feverishly on something.  He comes out after a bit and hands me a piece of paper.  He’s drawn me a picture and written the words, “Mom, I love you.  I am really sory and I want your forgivness.  I will do better.”

And just like that, forgiveness granted and relationship restored.  He still had to discuss with Daddy the loss of self control that led to the altercation, but for the rest of the afternoon, he did just what I asked.  He proved himself.  He waited just a second longer before responding.  When his sister made him angry, he left the room in a huff – a grand improvement over how he normally responds.

He proved his remorse by trying to reign in his tongue.  That was all I asked.

How often do I come before the Holy of Holies with yet another, “Lord, I’m sorry!”  How often do I skip through my day uttering “Forgive me, Lord,” without a hint of weight or remorse hidden inside my words?

How often do I choose not to reign in my tongue and just expect instant acceptance despite my unwillingness to work on the behavior?

It’s heavy, when you stop and think about it.  My eight year old got the concept of proving it better than I do.  His heart is tender and precious.  Would that I possessed those same qualities.  I’m constantly working on the tenderness of my own heart.

It doesn’t really do just to say it.  We expect so much more from our young children when it comes to obedience than we do of ourselves.  But we all must operate under the same challenge.

Prove it.

This is a Walk with Him Wednesdays post, linked to Ann Vaskamp’s site.  Each week, Ann leads her readers to take their faith a step deeper.

From Ann’s website

For one more week: … might we explore: The Practice of Hope… What does it look like to believe? How do you practice your faith day to day? How do you share that faith, deepen faith in Christ, live that faith out in the midst of fears? The whole community looks forward to your prayerful reflections stories, ideas….

For more practices of hope, visit A Holy Experience.

On forgiveness


One of my favorite Sassy Bloggers (we should form a club…), Jessica, posted her Plank Pullin’ series today.  I like this series.  I admire Jessica’s courage to put her planks out there.  You’ll notice I haven’t put any out there myself.  There are two reasons for this:

– I’m lazy

– I’m a scaredy cat


But Jessica’s post today hit a particularly raw nerve with me.  Forgiveness.  It’s such a loaded word, isn’t it?  It requires action and intention no matter what end of it you’re on.  If you’re the one needing forgiveness, you must intentionally act.  If you are the one to extend forgiveness you must intentionally act.

Sometimes you must do both…at the same time.

Oh forgiveness…why dost thou tease me so?

One thing I have always valued highly, a trait that was instilled by my parents, has been loyalty.  I value loyalty over just about everything else.  I believe in it and I try hard to live by it.

Because loyalty is so important to me, restoring relationships that have been damaged is also important.  It pains me to my core to think that I have ever offended someone and generally I will go to great lengths to try and restore that relationship.  Sometimes this is hard.  It requires the swallowing of the pride.  And my pride?

It can be a big pill to swallow.




You get the picture…

Even if I don’t understand my offense against someone, I try to make it right.  When Lee and I were newly married we made our first married couple friends at our church in Texas.  We had barbeque’s and took walks with this couple feeling ever so grown up and…married.  They were our closest, and only, married friends in town.  Or so I thought.

Lee came home from work one day and gave me a look.  “I talked with Bowzer* today,” he said.  “We have a problem.”

“What?” I asked.

“Princess Pea* thinks you don’t like her.  She feels offended because you have never called her to get together one on one.”

*Names changed to protect the innocent.  But wouldn’t it be funny to have friends named Bowzer and Princess Pea?  I bet they’d be a really fun couple…Can you tell my kids have been playing a lot of Super Mario Bros?

Now, let the record show that I think this is a silly little thing to get upset about.  I did then and I still do.  But that wasn’t the point – the point was that I had somehow inadvertently offended someone and in doing so a friendship was damaged.  Never mind the fact that I am suckalicious at talking on the phone – always have been.  That’s why I don’t call people very often.

I sat on this for a few days mulling over what to do.  I mean, it really was kind of petty.  Because the fact of the matter was this girl had never called me either.  But I couldn’t feel right if I didn’t at least call and make things right.  So I did.  It was terribly awkward and uncomfortable, but I asked her forgiveness for hurting her feelings and asked if she’d like to get together for coffee.

We never did do that.  And I haven’t heard from that couple in almost ten years now.  So the issue obviously wasn’t mine, but I felt better knowing I had tried to make things right.  I wanted forgiveness, truly and deeply.

Recently another issue has cropped up that has affected me a bit.  A friendship ruined over something silly, trivial and petty.  I tried to make it right and instead met resistance.



And unity was not restored but was, instead, further denied.  And I had a part in it.  That makes me sad.

I don’t like that.  I hate disunity with others.  I want it to be right.  I feel all Monica Gellar…I want her to like me, dang it. (Five points to anyone who remembers that FRIENDS episode)  And I keep questioning myself, looking inside, trying to decide what action I need to take to restore unity.  But I’m a little scared, because last time I tried that it only got worse.


It’s a tough one, isn’t it?  Forgiving, moving forward and loving unconditionally.  Whew.  As Jessica put it:

“It’s one thing to forgive someone and a whole ‘nother thing to be reconciled with them, and Christians can be so dad blame unrepentant of their arrogance, or unhospitality, or fill-in-the-blank that I occasionally find a very hard time building bridges with them.

And yeah, I’m on the guilty/unrepentant end sometimes, too.”

So on I press, ever aware of the fact that I am only responsible for my own actions.  How can I live today in a way that restores unity and peace with others?  Because I value loyalty.  I don’t like to end or walk away from friendships.

So what is my plank?

I think it is my indignation when others don’t value loyalty as I do.  I tend to get judgemental.  I don’t like it.  I’m constantly working on dying to myself and I am an admitted work in progress.

My deepest desire is to continue to search my own heart and seek to live whole with others, making things right when I offend and offering grace if ever needed.  And drop the judgement.  It’s very unbecoming.

It doesn’t match any of my outfits.

So Jessica, consider that my first plank pulled.