At bedtime, yesterday, my seven year old daughter curled up in my lap to tell me her many woes. She had a list of grievances that went back several weeks and she relayed to me all the kids who had been mean to her and hurt her feelings. Anna cried and could barely get her words out - she was so choked up about the unfairness of it all. "It ruined my day!" she cried. I gently reminded her of all the fun she had enjoyed that day: she sang a solo in church and received many compliments, she cooked with me all by herself, she had a friend over, we even took her to a movie, but none of this counted against her broken heart.
I spoke to my darling girl about forgiveness: what it means, what it costs, and sometimes how it needs to be given even without receiving an apology. She was shocked by that. "But Mom, that's like saying 'You're welcome" without someone saying 'thank you' first! That's....weird!" I talked to her about how Jesus forgave us even as He was in the act of dying for us, even as mankind was jeering at him. Anna was quiet. And then my girl tucked her head close to mine and croaked out in a broken sob, "Mama, sometimes I think I'm not very good."
My daughter is a blessing and joy everyday of her life. She is sweet-tempered, a truth teller, and never disrespectful. Everyone would consider her a "good" child. But even at her tender age, she recognizes that God created her to be good and her heart isn't. Something is broken.
I've been thinking about it all day. She never mentioned again her little wounds. Anna gave them up the moment she compared herself to how Jesus forgave. Today, my prayer is that I would do the same.