I went to tuck my ten-year-old daughter in at bedtime and saw a mass of orange peels balanced precariously on the top of her headboard. My hackles lifted (we've had a few carpet issues from her forgotten fruit remnants).
What I had intended as a sweet mom / daughter huggy end to our day, became a frustrated diatribe about how annoyed I get when she continues to eat in her room when we've asked her not to.
Head lowered in shame and monosyllabic answers didn't get me any closer to understanding why this sweet child won't comply with a basic rule.
I stalked out of her room after an obligatory hug and a muttered, "Goodnight. I love you."
Several hours later as I headed for my own bed, I thought about our interaction. Remorse welled up inside. I wished I had built a bridge to her rather than berated her for doing it wrong . . . again.
I repented to the Lord. I told him how sorry I was for talking to her the way I did. And I heard the echo of my own words to her held gently in the Lord's hands. "Then why did you?"
In a nano-second God's mirror reflected my own attitude back to me. "If you knew it was wrong, then why did you talk to her that way?"
I answered Him with the only thought that came into my brain. "My flesh."
My flesh chooses sinfulness. Not because it wants to hurt someone or be disobedient but because it's my nature. I sensed His gentle nod and smile as the revelation hit.
Where I was taking my daughter's sinful choice as a personal affront, there had been nothing personal intended.
She has a flesh like me. Like you. We're fallen creatures in need of a Father's forgiveness and love.
And He's waiting with arms open wide.