Forgive your Children Seventy-Seven Times

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Pink Sherbet Photography
I slammed my fist down hard on the kitchen table, shaking the dishes and causing my young son to tremble.

“That does it, go to your room!” I shrieked.

His eyes welled up with tears, his bottom lip quivered, and if he had a tail, I’m sure it would be tucked in sheepishly between his legs. He scowled at me and then ran to his room and slammed the door.

I let out a loud hiss and might have even seen a little steam come out with it. I angrily grabbed a kitchen towel and proceeded to vigorously wipe up my son’s juice he’d spilt all over the table, chair, and floor.

How many times do I have to tell him to be careful with his cup?! I fumed inwardly.

This had been the last straw after a very long day. It seemed I had spent the whole day telling my son what to do or what not to do over and over and over. And then over again. I had reached my limit.

Why doesn’t he listen to me, doesn’t he care about me? I stewed over this while I cleaned.

Yet, as I knelt on the ground scrubbing away the juice off the floor, God was gently working on the mess in my soul.

How many times have you forgotten me? He quietly whispered. How many times have I gently reminded you what you should and should not do? 

I stopped mid-scrub and slowly released the death-grip I had on the towel. The pain in my chest faded and my anger simmered.

Now it was my turn to cry and run away to my interior “room” of my soul.

I’m sorry. So sorry, Lord. My head sagged in shame as I realized what I’d done. I’d lost my patience – again. I’d failed to show mercy to my own child – again. And here I was, down on my knees next to a puddle of orange juice, begging for God’s mercy – again. 

A conversation between Peter and Jesus came to mind.

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18: 21,22)

As a child, I remember hearing this and thinking – why would anyone need to forgive someone seventy-seven times? – not understanding how someone could commit the same offense unto another that many times. Then I had a baby and that baby became an independent toddler, and then an independent and obstinate strong-willed five-year-old. Now, I wonder if Jesus might have meant to say seventy times seven times.

I wiped my tears away and thanked God for forgiving me – again. Then, I went to my son’s room and pulled him close to me and cradled him on my lap. We sat there together quietly and then we both let out a satisfied sigh.

“I’m sorry,” I said into his deep and innocent eyes, “will you forgive me for losing my patience with you?

“Uh-huh,” he nodded quietly. Then, after a few pensive moments he said,

“Sorry for spilling the juice, will you forgive me, too?”

“Yes, my dear son, always.”

Children teach us more about Christ’s love and mercy than any great book or charismatic speaker ever could. This Kid Bible Stories video presents the story of the forgiving Master and his servant with a humorous twist.

Copyright 2015, Erika Marie

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

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About Author

Erika Marie is a simple Catholic, Wife, and Mama. She relishes snuggles and free time with her family and enjoys reading, writing, blogging, and has a slightly obsessive addiction to creating Canva graphics. Enjoy more reflections by Erika at her personal simplemama blog.

4 Comments

  1. Ah, spilled juice and milk! I have four children, too, and sticky, spilled fluid has been my trial time and again. Often I lose my temper, too – though sometimes I do a better job listening to that still, small voice telling me not to yell and fume.

    I remember once being at Mass, and after receiving communion I thanked Jesus for his everlasting mercy to me. Then I felt him telling me to show mercy to my children. It is something I try to remember, but I forget much too often. Your post has reminded me to try harder.

  2. My 7 year old daughter and I seem to be constantly butting heads lately. Thank you for this reminder, I needed to read it today.

  3. Thanks, Ladies. I wrote this last week and needed the reminder again today. Some days it seems like they try and give me every opportunity to forgive them 77 times. 😉
    Lori – you’re so right about that! A friend of mine deals with annoying children by just joking it off and she’s a much happier person for it – and so is her family. 😉

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