A 4-year-old was standing in front of me. The brown dirt caked all over the knees of her jeans was also smudged across her forehead where she’d wiped it. But all I could see was the tangled mass of roots and soil where a clump of my prized pansies sat as she held them out to me in her little hands. “For you, Auntie,” she said, eyes alight.
At that moment, I confess that I didn’t feel loved – just annoyed. I’d planted those pansies with care, watered them till they took root, coordinated the colors precisely against the backdrop of the rest of my landscape. But then I remembered another little girl somewhere in the past. The one who saw her mother painting a bedroom one day and decided to “help.” That was me. My mother didn’t roll her eyes or tell me how very bad I had behaved. She just let it go and helped me get my mess cleaned up. So standing there with my beloved pansies, and my even more beloved niece, I had a choice about forgiveness to make.
At KIDstuff on Sunday, March 16, Kid’s Quest families learned what it means to choose forgiveness as they explored Kid’s Quest’s monthly virtue on Forgiveness: choosing to let go of the wrong someone has done to you. As the show opened, our host, Mr. Brian, was immediately faced with the choice to forgive as his co-host, Mr. Adam, had blamed him for wrecking his bike… when it was actually the result of Mr. Adam’s own off-roading adventure right into his neighbor’s row of bushes.
Then our KIDstuff families watched a commercial for the “Forgive Me!” Ultimate 4-Disc Collection, featuring a parody of ABBA’s hit, “Take A Chance On Me” which reminded them to take a chance to offer others forgiveness, even over and over again. Watch it here.
Choosing to forgive can be a difficult choice because the problem is often deciding why we should forgive someone. The Clubhouse Gang wrestled with this when Vinny got the date wrong for the SmushFace concert he was supposed to go to with Cammie. And again when Gordo mistakenly dropped Sam’s Global Nuclear Thermal Genomics (say that 5 times fast) research into a bowl of his newly-invented chewing gum dissolvent. But with God’s help, and a plate of Mrs. F’s famous chocolate chip cookies, the Clubhouse friends made amends when they remembered Colossians 3:13, “Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.”
In a Biblical illustration, private eye, Sam Shovel, interrogated the Unmerciful Servant from Matthew 18:21-35. Even though the King had forgiven him of a huge debt, the Unmerciful Servant couldn’t forgive a fellow servant who owed him only a fraction of the amount of money he’d been pardoned. He was, guilty of un-forgiveness in the first degree!
So whether it’s a 4-year-old who uprooted your favorite flowers as a gesture of love, a classmate who teases you because of your glasses, a friend who shares a secret you asked them to keep, or a family member who forgot your birthday (again!), when we remember that God has forgiven us, we can choose to forgive others – just like my mom did for me after my first foray as Claude Monet. So I can smile at my niece, eyes bright as she waits for me to answer, and think, “Thank you, God, for forgiving me so I can forgive others.”
The last KIDstuff show of the season is Sunday, May 4, at 12:30 pm in the Smith Center. To learn more about KIDstuff go to mbctysons.org/kidstuff.