Tonight, my son made a bad choice. He was playing with his younger brother who is only 5 months old, which they both enjoy very much. While playing, big brother decided to spit on baby brother. In his innocence, he didn't see anything wrong with it. However, it was a bad choice.

I happened to see him do it and immediately called him on it. Of course, he burst into tears, knowing that while he was not intending to cause harm, he made a mistake. I sent him to a

chair in the corner while I took his brother and gave him a bath, also wondering what I was going to do with him.

In his mind, he probably knew that spitting on the baby was not good. But he was genuinely sorry for making the mistake, which was evidenced by the tears he was spilling.

In the corner, I heard him say, “I'm bad!” through gasping breaths.

Later, when everyone had calmed down, and after I had explained to him why spitting on people isn't very nice, I assured him that everything was going to be OK. He apologized to his brother (who at five months old doesn't know anything that's going on), brushed his teeth, and got in bed.

Bedtime is sacred in our house. We refer to it as “snuggies.” We say prayers, give hugs and kisses, and every now and then, strike upon great theological issues.

“I'm bad for spitting on him,” he whispered.

“No. You are not bad. You just made a bad choice,” I whispered back. “We all make bad

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choices, but that never means that we've lost God's love. God will always love us, just like I will always love you. Even I make bad choices.”

“Like what?”

(Confession time.)

“Well, last night I was on my way home from a trip and I was going too fast in my car, and a policeman pulled me over and gave me a ticket. Now I have to pay the fine for driving too fast. That's my punishment.”

“What else? What other bad choices have you made?”

I shared a couple more with him. He smiled, understandingly.

We all make bad choices, some intentionally and some unintentionally. When we feel the sting of those choices, we can feel alone and isolated. We can begin to see ourselves as “bad.”

However, as part of God's creation, none of us is “bad.” In the beginning, God created and called us “good.” In God's eyes, that's all we are.

I kissed my son's tear-stained face and told him he is forgiven. God forgives him and I forgive him. As one who has experienced the pain of bad choices and one who has experienced forgiveness of those choices, what else could I do but extend the same grace to my little boy?

I was overwhelmed by this mundane circumstance and realized how these types of things are anything but mundane. God says to each of us, “You are not bad. You are forgiven.”

You are not bad.

You are forgiven.

Jeff+

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