The Audience

“Sorry!” My oldest called out as she sent her Daddy’s peg flying off the game-board.

“What?!?” he retorted, “You just broke your own rule!”

imageMy little one lined up a teeny tiny animal audience as they argued. The table melted down into assigning blame, hurt feelings, and an unfinished game. It’s impossible to declare the winner of a game with no rules, and I was not going to take sides…

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Life’s a lot more complicated than the game of “Sorry.” It’s easy to forgive someone for knocking your game peg off the board, but not so easy to swim through the hurt of being bumped. There are times I feel unqualified to wipe away my daughters’ tears as I choke back my own. Praying for the right way to raise them, I discovered two words to help me piece together a plan.

Though they appear synonymous, “favor” and “favoritism” communicate opposite messages in fostering a healthy community. These three steps will help you land on the right side of the coin.

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1. Say something.

“Favoritism: the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.” Google.com

Life can be a lot about choosing sides and shifting circles, causing hurt feelings to be hidden in fear of being cut out. But it’s important to put a voice to hurt in a non-accusatory or defensively dramatic fashion. I try to guide my daughters (and repeat to myself) to talk directly to the one who hurt them, not around them in circles. For example:

“When you said that, it hurt my feelings.”

When we align with the audience of favoritism, we fail to notice God’s favor; when true hurts of the heart are spoken out loud, we allow God’s favor to defend us.

“He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…he who does these things will never be shaken.” Psalms 15:2,5

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How is one to know they’ve hurt me if they have no idea they’ve wounded me? God doesn’t care about the clamor to click and the clack to belong. Speaking up when my feelings are hurt without putting my foot in my mouth is an impossibly difficult task, but it’s more conducive to community than seething to attain sympathy out of thin air.

“We hide pain in the weirdest places…broken souls with smiling faces…Just look around and you see that people …are scared to say how they really feel …we all need …a little honesty.” ‘You are Loved,’ by Stars Go Dim.

#saysomething

2. Voluntarily forgive.

“Favor: an attitude of approval or liking…an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.” Google.com

Forgiveness is an important extension of the grace Jesus died to give us. It is something a human to human relationship is not 100% capable of without His presence. We consult our circle, but Christ didn’t have a clique. (Luke 4:19)

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Cliques offer protection, status, guaranteed friendship, trust, and acceptance. Though we look to each other for these things, only Christ is capable of fulfilling a lifetime of love and belonging. God wired our desire to seek His Son.

“I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35image

Christ loves beyond faults, and gifts grace without regard to requirement. Extend grace.

#forgiveaboutit

3. Let it go.

The puzzling and powerless feeling of injustice is agonizing, but I survive by crying out to God. The ugly cry. The uncontrollable, shoulders shaking in sobs and nose running down my face …desperate to understand “why?” cry.

Sometimes, life hurts more than we can comprehend because we’re not built to lean on other people …we’re meant to lean on God. He will fight our battles for us if we will faithfully hand them over.

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Before I drop them off at school, in sibling mediation, at bedtime …I’m constantly trumping my daughters’ excuses with my favorite soapbox.

“and we are…” I’ll bait.
“Kind,” they comply. Life’s most important rule.

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.” James 2:1

It’s hard to be kind in the face of calamity when I have a ferociously strong feeling about what is fair. But I believe God. Speaking the truth of our hearts, and forgiving without requiring apology …that’s our part. The rest is His area of expertise.

“There were three options for citizens under Roman rule: sell out, get out, or fight back… Jesus introduced a fourth option: serve…” Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (James 2:1-26 commentary)

I pray to mimic Jesus’ justice and fake it till I make it all the way into His arms; letting Him fill the gap of what I cannot accomplish alone, and fight what I was never equipped to battle.

#letitgo

imageLife is too risky to run without rules, yelling “sorry!” over shoulders when feelings flip and hearts are hurt. Reactions CAN land on the right side of the coin by determining which audience is driving our decisions. The audience of favoritism caters to cliques; the audience of God’s favor fosters community.

Speak. Forgive. Let go.

We say, “Sorry!!” Jesus says, “Grace!!”
#Whoseyouraudience

Happy Card Drawing!
Megs

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20 thoughts on “The Audience

  1. Meg, you are a wonderful momma! I love how you relate so many life lessons through experiences you have with your girls! We, as your readers, are grateful recipients. Lots of wonderful insight here! #ForgiveAboutIt is going to stick!! Thank You! Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh what wonderful insights! Girl do I need to hear and practice some of these! Parenting is so hard. Thank you for sharing and that KS for linking up with #JesusandCoffee

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are a great mama, Megs. Intentionally teaching our kids these lessons now prayerfully makes them wiser grown ups and well, just wiser humans in general. And from a woman who has been cast aside over cliques and cattiness, it is my heart that young girls learn to lay those practices down early otherwise they just multiply on the way to womanhood and become a weapon of warfare. Kindness matters and oh, how it counts. You are raising God fearing girls and that is HUGE kingdom work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, sweet Tiffany! It’s something all of us gals struggle with, I am certain. From grade school and all the way through life. All I can do to cope with human hurt is lean into Him …and teach my girls to do the same. Happy Thursday! And thank you for encouraging me. Much love!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, Megs. This is one of my biggest struggles: “Speaking up when my feelings are hurt without putting my foot in my mouth is an impossibly difficult task, but it’s more conducive to community than seething to attain sympathy out of thin air.” I much too often seek sympathy out of thin air. I hate confrontation. God’s been slowly pressing me forward in this department…but I know I have a long way to go. It’s hard knowing how to speak up without hurting the other person…but then I guess Proverbs encourages us in this department: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.”

    I find the letting it go to be an extended process at times…I think I’ve let it go only to find the feelings of hurt resurface…I then just keep laying it at the feet of Jesus in prayer and pray a blessing over the person concerned. But as I read in another blog about blessing our enemies: it also means choosing to speak well of those who have hurt us in public…not just praying a blessing, but speaking one..I realized that I don’t do that enough. I guess this is really what love is about, isn’t it?

    Thanks for your encouragement here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, such great insight, as always! Like I tell my kids, there’s always something good we can find to focus on in everyone. God created all of us. And all His creation is good. I’m plugging along with you! Happy Thursday!!!

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  5. Amazing post. It is true how the world handles favoritism, verses how God handles favor. He extends his favor with grace. I love how you reminded us that we are built to lean on God. That is our ultimate source in handling any situation. Visiting from Cisneros Cafe.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great piece, I love it is impossible to declare a winner in a game with no rules. Everything has rules and order. Speak, Forgive, and Let Go. Yes, it is a process and as a human, not always a smooth transition from one to the next. But there is always tomorrow! Keep on writing sista!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this distinction between favoritism and favor. This is great. My favorite has to be #forgiveaboutit Thanks so much for linking up to Open Mic Monday at Cisneros Cafe. You’re the best. Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely post! I have an old hurt that still likes to grip me from time to time, even though I have extended grace. I keep having to ask for God’s help to let it go…and for Him to transform my heart and thinking as I tend to bend toward what I think it is needed for justice!

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    1. Isn’t that something? I experience the same repetition, and am learning that forgiveness is a much deeper process than I ever imagined it to be. Thanks, Lynn! Happy Saturday!
      Megs

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