One summer night at my grandparents’ house I had a GREAT idea. I decided I would make azalea soup.
What’s the recipe, you ask? Well you pluck off every single azalea bud you can find on your grandparents’ bushes, divide them evenly into bowls and fill the bowls with water from the garden hose.
Voila, azalea soup. (You see that’s the kind of creativity kids USED TO show long before 24/7 Disney Channel, iPhones and xBoxes…)
When my grandfather came out and saw ALL of his azalea bushes as nekkid as a newborn, he could have gone all nuts on me and told me how stupid I was, how I had ruined his bushes, how I just destroyed all his hard work, how I should have asked him first.
He did none of those things. He sat down at the patio table, had a few “bites” of azalea soup, and then so very gently said, “Next time you want to make azalea soup let’s leave a few blooms on the plants, OK?” and we went right on with our pretend supper. He forgave me for destroying his hard work even though I didn’t ask him to forgive me. My grandfather reprimanded me in such a gentle way – I knew I was in the wrong but didn’t feel condemned for my actions because of the way he responded.
Every day we fall into situations where we have two choices – respond in anger or respond in kindness and forgiveness. Whenever possible, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
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