My son was mis-behaving and I had completely lost my temper. I mean, really lost my temper! For anyone who is thinking, “Well, you’re a pastor, so you must have just raised your voice a little, right?” Wrong! It was embarrassing and non-pastoral, to say the least. I wasn’t proud of my behavior.
As I slammed his door shut, echoing threats along the way, a rush of guilt swept over me. I felt like the worst father in the world. I was ashamed. I felt like a failure. To make matters worse, I sat down in our living room to watch TV, and first thing that came across the screen was a report from Newtown, Connecticut. I saw the faces of broken parents who would never see their child again. My guilt worsened.
As parents, we’ve all been there: lost our temper, raised our voice, said something we did not mean, behaved selfishly, set a terrible example for our children, and made plenty of bad parenting decisions. We’ve walked away from these moments dragging the weight of our actions around like a pile of bricks chained to our ankles. If you’re anything like me, you struggle to let it go. It stays with you. Or worse, you file it away in the “failure file” and every time there’s a ‘recurrence’ you return to that file as if to say to yourself, “See, I am a failure!” It’s not healthy and it doesn’t feel very good! Many of you can identify.
The longer I sat in my living room, mulling my loss of temper with him over, the more hopeless I felt. I could hear him crying upstairs but I couldn’t move. I felt utterly powerless to do anything. My initial reaction was to let it go, and apologize in the morning. “After all,” I reasoned, “He made the bad choice to begin with. I just put my foot down!” But then suddenly the thought came to me like a still small voice whispering to my heart- “Make it right.”
You don’t know how much time you’ve been given with him.
You don’t know which words to him will be your last.
You don’t don’t know which moments his little mind will file away and carry into adulthood.
And, by all means, you have no idea how powerful forgiveness, and saying “I’m sorry” really is!
Make it right!
I don’t want to seem dramatic, but sitting in my living room, watching the reality of our world on my TV, struck a major chord with me. So, I pulled myself out of my chair, and headed upstairs. My son was standing in the the doorway of his room waiting for me. I knelt down on the top step, called him over to me, and embraced him, choking back tears the entire time.
“I’m sorry I said those things buddy. I’m sorry I raised my voice. I’m sorry I lost my temper. I’m trying real hard to not be that way.” Those words were the hardest words in the world to say, but I needed to say them. As I tucked him into bed and kissed his forehead I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. Making it right had freed me from my own guilt and shame and, most importantly, repaired my brokenness with my son. The next morning was a brand new start. What a great feeling!
Question: Do you need to ‘make it right’ with your child, your spouse, your friend or co-worker? What is stopping you? Comment now!