When things need fixing

The other day a couple of my crew were at odds.  Different than when their frustrations were vented in hits and hairpulls, this was of the verbal sort.  Unkind words.  Hurt feelings.  Spreading out to members not involved in the conflict.

They angrily separated.  Too old for parent-enforced time outs but perhaps the principle learned in the early years was wisely relied on.  Good idea to retreat.  Stop the assault of wounding words.  Tears.

I appeared in the aftermath.

I think each one expected me to point out their error.  To reprimand them and exhort corrective action. 

By God's grace, I knew to listen first and lecture later.  This time, anyway.

 I cried with each one.  I empathized with their pain and understood each side's complaint. I knew what it felt like to be misunderstood and unappreciated. I knew what it was like to have a lot of outside pressure and to need home to be safe and warm and compassionate. I knew intimately what it felt like to fail in the relationships I value the most.  I knew. And I didn't offer any correction or suggestion.  They didn't need those things.But  I was able to give them what they did need in that moment.  Grace. Unmerited favor.  To be treated better than they deserved. And I assured them that there is more than enough grace available.  To cover all these kinds of moments.  To soothe all their searing wounds.  To heal the rifts.  To flood them with the assurance that they are loved.  By me and most importantly by the Redeemer.  And He is able to mend rifts.  To put relationships back together.  To equip us to forgive and ask forgiveness.  To do it better next time.  To move on to goodness and righteousness and peace.

I was divinely able to respond this way because my Heavenly Father treats me like this.  Yes, He often times has to correct me and to show me where I'm wrong.  But I find Him far more compassionate than corrective.  He shows me way more grace than grievous chastisement.  He is understanding, not unrelenting.

Reminds me of these verses -

As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103:13,14

Sometimes I feel just like my feuding kids.  Sometimes I just stink at relationships and following Christ and LIFE.  Sometimes I feel like a big fat failure.

I'm so very glad that One who is greater than I shows compassion because He knows I'm weak and frail and error-prone.  And when He invites me to pour out my hurts and disappointments, I don't get a lecture.
I get grace.
I am so very glad.