This morning Titus rushed into my room as I was getting our room picked up and announced that Maddie had stuck her tongue out at him. I asked him what I usually ask, which is have you talked to Maddie first. See, I want them to get into the habit of working it out on their own, I am training them to go and talk with the one who hurt them or is bugging them. I am teaching them to seek reconciliation and if it can’t be worked out amongst them then come to me and I will help mediate, not fix it, mediate. I called Maddie into our room along with Titus and we talked through it, once we had it sorted out and reconciled I asked Maddie who was responsible for what just happened. She said, Titus is because he came and told on me. Ok, hold on, back the truck up! This lead into a teachable moment, a very important teachable moment, the kind of moment that can shape ones perspective on life. We talked about taking responsibility, not the blame.
I excused Titus from the room and asked Maddie again who is responsible. I asked her who was the one who stuck their tongue out. She looked at me through tears and said, I did. I said that’s right. I said Titus only did what I have trained the three of you to do, which is try working it out first and if the situation isn’t changing, come to me for help to work it out. She broke down crying and said, it’s all my fault, I’m to blame. We talked about how, yes, she did choose to stick her tongue out, but it wasn’t her job to take the blame, it was her job to take responsibility. Taking blame upon oneself is also taking upon shame, guilt, and ugliness. Emotions that children of God no longer need to live under. When Jesus died on the cross he went to hell and took all of our ugliness, our shame, our guilt, the things that make us feel icky and he left them in hell with Satan. When he went up to be with the heavenly father he brought peace, joy, blamelessness, holiness, and love. Taking responsibility with the confidence that we belong to Jesus allows us to see ourselves and the situation in a completely different light. It allows us to see our foolishness in a situation and to embrace humility which allows us to see the other person as a person, it allows us to continue to love them and have a relationship with them. Blaming fills me with shame and guilt, often times driving me from the one I’ve wronged because I can’t stand being with them because they remind me of the ugliness in myself, they remind me of my guilt and of my shame. However, responsibilty allows me to continue to love myself in Jesus’ name and because there is peace within myself, because I see myself as a reflection of Christ, I can continue in relationship unhindered or at least on my end of the relationship. It makes my heart softer, it makes my life peaceful.
With all that is going on in our world around us my conversation with Maddie excited me and saddened me at the same time. I realized that the world around us has shifted from taking responsibility to shifting blame. We live in a world filled with hurting people, people who have been abused in ways unimaginable to my mind, people have been crushed by others, and are seeking to get even. Our world has begun to call this tolerance, but what it really is is a fight to get back what they have lost, it’s people trying to make sense of what they went through and trying to make the world a better place. Yet, with the rise of one’s own people being rescued I often see another people crushed. Until we as a world stop taking our hurt out on another our world will not change. It’s just trading one hurt for another. Until we can choose to take our pain and listen to the other side, try to love the other side, appreciate the other side, our world will not change. I’m not saying we will always agree, but I am saying it does give each of us freedom to choose to take responsibility for our words and actions towards the rest of the human race. I know from my own story of being molested and watching those who have been horribly hurt by others that whenever hate and anger have come into play in a way that seeks to hurt another all it ever does it create more hate and more hurt.
On this Thanksgiving day, I am so thankful God gave Maddie and I both a teachable lesson. I am praying that Maddie truly takes to heart her freedom in Christ, freedom from shame and guilt, freedom to take responsibility without being crushed by her actions. I pray this gives her freedom to live in confidence in how Christ sees her, giving her more confidence than her daddy or I could ever give her. So much more powerful, so much more peace and joy in her life. May you, like Maddie, know Jesus that you too may live without shame, without guilt, so that you too can see yourself as loved, blameless, and without blemish. Which will in turn allow you to see the human race in a whole new way!