So, about a month or so ago, we invited some friends over. This family has a little girl with special needs. When I told the kids they were coming, they had a little bit of a hard time, because the little girl often hits them. We had a good talk about being kind and loving, setting a good example, and forgiving quickly.
Emma was coloring, and the little girl scribbled on her paper. Now, Emma is pretty serious about her artwork, so she came to me crying, because she was going to have to start all over. I held her, and told her that sometimes, it is hard for Mommy too. Sometimes, I work really, really hard, and I get the kitchen all clean. And just as I am finishing, a little person comes in and spills yogurt on the floor and gets everything dirty and I have to start all over. That is really, really hard. But I do it, because I love our family so much, and I want them to have a clean kitchen where we can eat and make food. I asked her if she thought that she could love our little friend, and be willing to start over in order to be a good friend to her. I prayed with her, for the Holy Spirit to help her to forgive, and to start a new picture.
You know, it is not always easy as a mom to watch your kid get hit. But, as I sat and listened to my friend, and heard a little bit about her life, I felt so much pain and empathy for the great deal that she has "on her plate". It is really difficult to parent a child with special needs. Parenting is hard enough. It was just really good for all of us to spend the day, trying to be compassionate towards others. To bear with others, even if it's painful. And so, Emma had to start her picture over, and all of the kids got hit a few times and screamed at. And, at the end of the day, I honestly felt like God opened up a door in my heart that had never been opened before. As we had our family devotions, we had some amazing discussion that night about compassion, about kindness, about forgiveness. And we all learned that sometimes we take for granted how easy it is to befriend those that are like us. It is more challenging to befriend those who are different than us. But many times, it is more rewarding as well.
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?.... But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." Luke 6:27-36