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Jul05

When Enough Is Enough

Posted in the late morning by Jackina Stark

Last week I told you about a time I confessed to Stacey that God was helping me forgive, as he has commanded us to do in his word, which is the road map for life-abundant and eternal.

The girls had several opportunities to put this into action themselves. For instance, they came in from school one day, furious with a little girl who had called them names and tried to trip them on the bus.

By the time I’d heard all the particulars, I wanted to smack the kid myself. For years we had been able to summon it, but there in my kitchen on that autumn afternoon, tolerance had vanished.

I thought I was hungry when we sat down to eat an after school snack, but I found myself making designs in the honey on my plate, too upset to eat, too upset even to say much yet. The girls, however, had not lost their appetites and buttered their biscuits with a vengeance, talking plenty while they did it.

“Enough is enough” was the general motif, and now they would retaliate. Okay, maybe they wouldn’t trip her or call her names, but they would do something. They could at least put her in her place.

That’s about the time Matthew 5:43-47 tunneled its way into my consciousness.

Never one to suffer alone, I finally opened my mouth and reminded the girls of what Jesus said. How are we different from the pagans, he wanted to know, if we love only those who love us? We are to love our enemies.

We couldn’t sit there eating biscuits anymore. We got up from the table and went into the family room to pray. I knelt there with the girls, but they did the praying. Their prayers were simple and real. They told God how crummy they felt and confessed that it was hard not to hate this girl. “Help us care for her,” they prayed.  They expressed how awful it would be for someone to want to do and say such things to other people: “She must be so miserable.” They closed this prayer with one last request: “Please. Help her.”

I couldn’t believe what was happening. We were experiencing “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” My young daughters were embracing God’s truth, and just as Jesus said it would, the truth was setting them free.

No matter how hard it would be for them to love and forgive this “enemy,” it would be infinitely easier than bitterness and resentment and revenge.

When Stacey and Leanne got up from their knees, peace had replaced turmoil. But more than healing had happened. They had trusted in and lived out this truth of God’s Word, and as a result, they came to know God more fully.

God’s Word is Truth, and it, beyond all other things, provides guidance and comfort.