What can a loveseat teach us about life, love and forgiveness? Read on as Gretta Kennedy redecorates her home ... and her heart.
Lessons from the Loveseat
By Gretta Kennedy
It was an accident. She never meant for it to happen ...
I had been searching many months for a new couch as ours was falling apart and in need of replacing. Not wanting to spend money on a brand new furniture piece, I searched online and found a free one! In a matter of hours I had a beautiful new-ish loveseat for our living room.
But after working and reworking our seating arrangements in the room, my husband and I decided to try this new piece in our bedroom instead. This change came as a surprise to our kids who each separately came to express their ideas as to why the small couch belonged in the living room.
When my pre-teen daughter walked into our bedroom to voice her disagreement, she did so by dramatically kicking the new-to-us couch and proclaiming in a childish manner "No! You can't have it in here!" She meant to be funny, but as she kicked the loveseat, my husband heard a very loud "snap." In that split second, she put a hole in the couch's framework. Our daughter ran, instantly sobbing, from the room. My husband was stunned and our girl completely broken. Her sorrow was immediate and her shame drove her into hiding.
After tracking her down, and a lot of gentleness, she apologized through huge tears and a bit more sobbing. My husband tenderly forgave her. But it was her response that really struck me. "Not like this," she said. "I should have to pay for it. I'm not ready to be forgiven." It didn't feel right to her to be loved in that moment.
At times, I have found myself feeling exactly as she did, but usually my shame comes from a willful decision to follow my own way instead of God's best. It doesn't take me long to think back to several times when I wanted nothing more than to crawl in a hole and hide from the people I hurt and from God himself. My shame and guilt can be crippling. And instead of seeking forgiveness, I can act just like my daughter did.
It reminds me of Peter a little bit. A headstrong, mighty man who often led with his actions and thought about it later, Peter made many mistakes. He received a rebuke from Jesus when he tried to ease Jesus' pain instead of listening to his teaching, he impulsively cut off a man's ear while defending his Savior, and he denied even knowing Jesus when his Lord was in the darkest time of his life. Yep, Peter failed ... a lot. Peter had every right to run into a hole and hide with shame and guilt because of his behavior. But instead, Peter walked boldly in the grace and forgiveness freely given by God.
Peter believed God's promise to "remove our sins as far from us as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12) And as a result he experienced freedom. And do you realize that Peter is the one chosen by Christ to build his Church? A man who sinned and made many mistakes just like us, yet walked boldly, following God's call on his life. Had he crumpled up with fear and shame and guilt, everything would have been different.
I would much rather walk like Peter in freedom than wallow and hide with shame like my daughter. Jesus said in John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
We released our daughter from shame - freely. Even more, God releases us from our sin.
As for our couch, it was free, and our relationship with our daughter was so much more valuable.
Gretta Kennedy is a speaker, mentor and writer with a degree in women's ministry from Multnomah University and over 20 years of ministry experience. She is the co-author of the newly released devotional Grit and Grace: Devotions For Warrior Moms. Connect with Gretta at www.GrettaKennedy.com.