I've said, recently, that when pushed to make the gut-wrenching choice between justice and mercy, I'm a justice girl. Mercy is something that I live under, yet have to work so hard to live out. Justice, however, just makes so much sense to me. I can do justice compassionately with the aim of restoration, but mercy is a whole other thing.
I read an absolutely beautiful article the other day about offering mercy when our children mess up. I know with the very depths of my being that "good kids do dumb stuff". I first read that in For Parents Only (Feldham & Rice) and it has been my mantra ever since. Then that sentence visited my family and I had a very good kid do a very dumb thing. So when I read this guest article the other day from Jen Hatmaker at "All Mom Does" it resonated so deeply for me. There is no way I could say this better than Jen, so I would encourage you to read her article. I would click you over there myself if I could.
In our experience with the good kid and the dumb thing, we required much from said kid once the 'dumb thing' was brought to our attention. There were a lot of conversations and a lot of digging to get to the heart of the 'dumb thing'. There were many excruciating steps to restoration. I'm sure 'the kid' felt like a bug under a microscope. But it was an opportunity for us to speak into this young life and offer words of life and restoration. Words that called out the qualities we see in this precious child and a determination not to allow a behaviour to define the future.
"We mess up, we fess up, we own up, we make up.
It's that simple"
We call the dumb thing 'the blip' these days. An affectionate term for a defining moment in this child's life in which we required much but left the 'dumb thing' where it belonged. It was done.