We were having a challenging time with one of our children and communication was at it’s worse. There was one night in which my anger got the best of me. I was tired, done, overwhelmed and unkind words were spoken from my child’s mouth. We were both verbally exploding our frustrations. I remembered this scene from last year more recently during a time of reflection on relationships, love, and forgiveness.
I asked myself what would I want to hear in conversations of open dialogue around issues. God spoke to my heart:
I love you.
I ask you to forgive me for __________________.
No rationalizations. No blaming. No If you would just………….
And then to take it further, I had that belated conversation with my daughter. I had said I was sorry after the event, but I was compelled to use that example today to create hopeful patterns of open dialogue. I share with her that sometimes asking someone to forgive you is not enough. I explained to her that some wounding goes deeper than the human mind can comprehend. When that happens it’s okay to express a need for help. So we add one more line in this situation.
I love you.
I ask you to forgive me for ___________________.
And, how can I help you heal?
That last sentence opens the dialogue of future in a relationship. I gave her an example of what we could have done after our argument. Perhaps, we could suggest a time out before solving the issue, or stopping in that moment and acknowledging our anger and praying. Maybe to help someone heal you must have hard conversations of the wounding and listening without judgment, lectures, or pep talks of building a bridge and getting over it. The greatest gift you can give someone is time to heal.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
If you read above “does not take into account a wrong suffered”, I truly believe that dismissing, stuffing, ignoring issues creates a bank account of wrongs. Multiply the wrongs with years of unhealthy patterns of conversations, and you got yourself a Swiss bank account with interest! Do you want to demolish strongholds and wrongs? Address wrongs in healthy ways. I desire to train my child the best I know how, so that when she is old she will not have a bank account of wrongs and wounds, but a gentle remembering of parents who were willing to admit when they were wrong, asking for forgiveness, and wanting to help with healing.
The greatest weapon we have over wronged relationships is prayer. Being active and engaging in the process of healing is important, but equally important is to be on our knees deeply praying for our children.