We all (hopefully) know that Jesus forgives, but sometimes we need to be reminded because we mess up in ways where we feel weighed down and unworthy to lead in the way God has called us to. The following story of a recent traumatic event in our family was a reminder to me, and hopefully a reminder to you also.
A couple of weeks ago my 6-year-old son broke his wrist…badly. The break was a complete fracture of both the radius and the ulna, that occurred by falling off the monkey bars at a local park, and to say he was in massive pain would be an understatement. The x-rays were stomach upsetting, and hearing his screams while the break was being reset was one of the most difficult moments his mom and I have ever experienced.
The problem is he didn’t just fall, he was pushed. He and his 9-year-old sister were competing to see who could hang from the bars the longest, and when she couldn’t hang on any longer she landed on her feet and then gave him a push. His body swung until he couldn’t hold on any longer and he fell to the ground with the majority of the impact going to his left hand while bracing himself.
It Was My Fault
As soon as this rapid event had ended my son screamed in anguish and my daughter wept in fear and guilt. I was personally not there when the fall occurred but instead met them at the emergency room. As I walked through the large automatic glass doors of the hospital entrance I saw my daughter walking towards me and she asked if we could talk privately. She got 4 words out…”It was my fault,” before she broke down in my arms and wept loud enough that I’m sure others wondered if she was, in fact, the kid that was hurt.
Soon after that encounter, her grandparents took her and our other daughter home, while my wife and I stayed with our son who was awaiting the repair of his arm. He was in a lot of pain and frightened as they gave him a dissociative drug that, while he’s technically awake, he’s numb and unaware of the manipulation of his wrist to put it back in place. There was only one problem, he wasn’t responding to the sedative the way they expected.
My son did seem distant and somehow conscious while unconscious, as was planned, but he wasn’t numb like the doctor expected. After 5 doses he had no choice to manipulate the wrist even though my poor guy was screaming in utter anguish. I share these details to illustrate what a painful and traumatic experience this was for him.
The next day we were surprised when we found out that our daughter had yet to tell her full-armed casted brother she was sorry. She explained she was afraid, that she felt horrible about it, but was afraid of how he would respond. After we talked, though, she gathered her courage and sat down beside him on the floor to apologize. His response left us amazed.
“I forgive you, very much” was the reply our son gave at his sister’s apology. It was one of the sweetest things we’ve heard, but also one that reminded us of how Jesus views our sin. We are not just forgiven, we are forgiven “very much.” It’s not a forgiveness that just allows a pardon, but one that creates an even stronger bond than before. One that demonstrates his beautiful love for each one of us, and expresses a longing for a deeper connection.
My son was so excited because he missed his sister and couldn’t wait for things to be back to normal with her again. He knew she was sorry and he felt genuine compassion for her. My son isn’t perfect, and certainly isn’t Jesus, but in that moment he reminded us what the amazing love of Jesus is like.
When we mess up the Enemy often tells us that we are unworthy to do what God daily calls us to do. It slows us down, causes hesitation, and makes our impact on the lives of others less than it could be. Today, remember, no matter what, Jesus forgives you…very much.