I can be a little competitive. Just ask Doug about ping pong on our honeymoon. 😉 . The good news is… we’re still married.
My brother and I are close in age… 18months. He was older, I was better. Or that’s the way I saw it anyway. While growing up (9 or 10yrs I’m guessing) we got into a neighborhood brawl over who was better, girls or boys. We decided to have a ‘once and for all’ contest one Saturday, officiated by several of the neighborhood kids. There were many different mini challenges that would be added together to determine the overall victor. My brother represented all boys and I represented all girls. It seems especially silly as I recall it! Included were the usuals… running, jump rope, skateboarding through some cones, rolling down a grassy hill and a headstand. Then I got to add one and he got to add one — in an attempt to make things fair. I added hair braiding. And he added peeing. I am still mad to have lost the peeing challenge because I’m pretty sure he didn’t take the time to wipe.
Anyway… after the long list of challenges we were dead even. The winner would be decided from one last, completely fair, gender neutral, test. We finally came up with the challenge of all challenges. Who could hold a cup to his or her face with suction the longest. On your Mark, Get Set, Go… After a blue in the face 90 seconds, his cup came off. I was ecstatic! Apparently he did not realize that you could still breathe through your nose while holding the cup. (Go ahead… I dare you. Give it a try. 🙂 Just to rub it in, I pranced around with that cup on my face for a very long time. I was an especially annoying little sister! Finally after I made my point over and over, the glass came off. But the mark it made, did not. I had a black and blue ring all around my mouth that lasted for more than a week. At the bus stop the next day, I couldn’t even revel in the girls victory. My brother simply pointed to my face and told everyone that he knew that would happen and so he let me win. Oh I hated him for it!
I would like to think I’ve grown up since those days!
Sometimes overly competitive people get their due on this side of heaven. (like I did when I was nine) Sometimes they don’t. In life, sadly, cheaters can win, unkindness can win. The bad guys can win. Do you hate that as much as I do?
We struggle with the whole concept of justice. We want things to be made right. The books to be balanced. The bad guy to be punished. It seems straight forward when you are detached from the people involved. But what if your need for justice leaks into your personal relationships?
Ian is my son and I love him. But sometimes I feel like his punching bag. I get mad at God because it’s not a fair fight. I’m the adult and Ian deserves more latitude because of all he has been through. Still, it wears me down. With the escalated war from a few days ago, I am still recovering. Ian has been resilient and seems himself again. I feel like I’m laying low, for protection.
Ian asked for a simple favor. (A ride to get some special watercolor paper) I had the time, but I found myself resisting. Without saying a word, my mind was spinning with justification. I’m still hurt! How can he expect this of me? He’s gotten off so easily. Without realizing it, I had not fully forgiven him. I was withholding a part of my heart. I enjoyed harboring the bitterness because then I could administer the justice. There is that bugger, control again!
While I did some weeding, God and I conversed. He reminded me that to forgive is to let it go. That means, freely and wholeheartedly, I grant freedom and blessing. It has very little to do with my feelings. Forgiveness is a simple decision, an act of the will. Real forgiveness lets go of my hurt and my own view of justice and leaves it with God. Ouch! God assured me, again, He will make things right. Trust me!
Romans 12:19 . “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. “
God does make things right. Amazingly my hurt was healed. That’s because God did the healing! I would have waited a long time if my healing was left up to the ginger kid! We did drive to the art store for the paper Ian wanted. ‘Coincidentally’ there was no radio competition. Instead we talked. Wow. Last evening, Ian even watched a redbox with us. Just wow.
Thank you God for your mercy and forgiveness of me! Thank you for your patience as I have to relearn basic lessons! Thank you for making things right! Thank you for the concrete proof that trusting you works best!