Sometimes, especially when the water is murky, we must choose to look through the eyes of mercy…
Let me give some clarity to what I mean…
Our 12 year old was being a little testy one afternoon while we were at the pool, and I just happened to be on the phone, with my husband, when the “altercation” occurred. I was trying to ask JGrizz something; yet, he thought I was simply telling him to get out of the pool. So, he kept swimming to the pool ladder, head halfway in the water, motioning to the it while obviously not answering me. He took quite a bit of time to get out; however, Joey wanted an immediate answer. *Note: Dad has a “NO TOLERANCE” policy for ignoring adults… So, when he finally arrived by my chair, dad wanted to speak with him, told him of the consequences for the delay in answering, and said he would be there in five minutes to meet up with us. Once the phone was hung up, JGrizz proceeded to explain that he “assumed” I just wanted him out of the pool; so, he was trying to get to the ladder. When dad showed up, I proceeded to explain the “possible miscommunication,” and the consequence was lessened. As JGrizz and I walked to the condo together, he then confessed, “Mom, I may have actually been ignoring you a little. I mean, I saw your mouth moving, but I just thought you were telling me to get out; so, I ignored you until I got out.” I replied, “Yes, son, I know.” He, emphatically responded by saying, “So, you lied to Dad?!” I corrected him by explaining, “No, I just simply decided to hear your side and view the situation through the eyes of mercy rather than judgment. You still have consequences for the delay, but the thoughts you were having in the moment, I chose not to assume when I explained it to dad.” We then talked about the difference between mercy and judgment, grace and consequence. It was a great moment to remind him of how God created such a wonderful miracle when He gave us mercy in redemption when we actually deserved eternal death.
As parents, sometimes, we must choose to look through the eyes of mercy, when we might would prefer to judge only the “rule” broken, the words spoken or the thoughts assumed. Sometimes, we just have to choose mercy in order to allow God’s grace to flow freely. This doesn’t mean consequences are never given. This does not mean desires are always appeased and attitudes, especially those of entitlement, are ignored, and this, definitely, does not mean a tolerance of rebellion is encouraged! No, it just simply means that, sometimes, grace can be given in the moment, because the situation could really go either way, and the attitude being shown is that of a contrite heart.
To me, it’s a lot like when the water of the pool is slightly murky, because the chemical balance of the chlorine hasn’t been correctly set. It’s not really harmful to your physical body; it’s just not crystal clear like it should be, and it definitely does allow for an enjoyable pool time, but swimming can still be accomplished for a little while.
Can this be taken too far, especially when you are raising two very independent, strong-minded young boys as we are? You bet. However, if these acts of mercy are tempered with strong boundaries and a solid foundation for truth, these small miracle moments can bring about huge lessons of God’s love and mercy.
It was a moment for my maturing son to realize rules may be “crystal clear;” yet, forgiveness can always be given when a murky, yet contrite, heart is viewed through the eyes of mercy.