We all make mistakes. Children sometimes make more mistakes as the struggle and strive to become mature and wiser. However, some of us adults seem to be pretty good at screwing things up even after many years of accumulating wisdom.
As far as my own children go, how interesting it is to hear how they begin the conversation very slowly when it is time to tell me what they did wrong this time. I know something is coming, but you have to wait it seems forever to hear the offense. I try to be patient while I wonder:
- Is someone hurt?
- Was this sin or stupidity? (Most of the times it the latter!)
- How much will this cost me?
- When they finally spit it out, should I tell their mother immediately, later, or never?
- Can I keep my cool or will their sin lead me to mine?
And then it comes out! The panic on their face is priceless. Sometimes, the crime might cause me an initial panic, but usually I begin to wonder if my inadequacies as a parent led to such horrible decision-making skills. Then I realize, “Nah, I am a pretty good parent. Must be their undeveloped frontal lobes.” Either way, they are ready for the hammer to fall.
Because of my own shortcomings, I may have given them a reason to panic. Perhaps my love and compassion does not always temper my response. But with God, His response is always tempered with love. Yet, we too often approach God with trembling and panic. Those emotions sometimes keep us from approaching Him at all!
In this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis tells us, “Don’t panic. God is greater than our sins!” Too many people have stayed away from God for too long because of fear. What a tragedy it would be if my children stayed away from me because of fear. I pray I never give them a reason to be like that. I also pray they never make the mistake of thinking their faults are bigger than God’s love. That would probably cause me to panic for real.