A story circulates around my family whenever I see or mention my brother, Adam. This true story (though somewhat exaggerated at times) focuses on one huge mistake I made, and it just won’t be forgotten. Even my kids are quick to reference it when they need a little ammunition.
I was three.
Three years old and one simple lack of good sense has followed me into adulthood and diminished my parental authority on sibling love.
It all seemed simple at the time.
There was me.
My brother standing in an open doorway,
And the element of surprise.
Now normally pushing someone out a door wouldn’t be a big deal, but we had no front porch, so there was a considerable drop to the ground.
We always waved good-bye to my dad when he went to work. Dad would go down our long driveway, pull onto the road, and then slow down as he passed our door. We would wave like mad as if our good day depended on it.
On this frigid, winter day, my brother opened the front door, and an idea popped into my head. An idea inspired by Daffy Duck.
So as he stood there silhouetted by the morning sky and waving away, I took a few steps back, got a running start, and pushed him out. To my credit, there were several feet of snow waiting to break his fall. He was fine. Really.
Of course, it only took a second to realize the error of my ways. My dad put it in reverse. My mom rushed to help my brother, and no one paused to appreciate my sense of adventure.
I tell you this because it’s yet another example of how what we do matters.
Whether it’s a word, a look, or sending someone soaring into a pile of snow, it matters.
And I kind of think it should.
As much as I would like for everyone to forget my meanness, I also think it’s right that they don’t. They’re not holding a grudge. They’re being honest and wise. Sometimes it seems like because we’re Christians we aren’t supposed to bring up our hurts and pain. We’re told, ”That’s not forgiving” or “That’s too negative,”
But where’s the sowing and reaping in that?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating an eye for an eye. I’m simply suggesting that if someone hurts you, it’s okay NOT to stand in an open doorway with your back to them. (Unless it’s been 40+ years, then you might need to let it go.) As forgiving as we need to be, we also need to be honest and not excuse someone else’s poor behavior because we want to be nice. Nice is treating them better than they treated you. It’s not pretending like they never smacked you in the first place.
So I pushed my brother out, and there’s been a price to pay for that. It’s called reaping what you’ve sown, and that’s just as biblical as forgiveness.