It was another frustrating evening with arguments and bad feelings erupting among and between the three of us – my son, my husband and I. We were a newly blended family still working out the kinks and to complicate matters, my son was at the height of those stubborn preteen years. Each of us was fighting with the other two. At one point, my son Bryan crossed a line and I grounded him for the rest of the evening and the next day. Grounding in our house meant room arrest – bathroom and meal breaks only and the only communication permitted was to pertain to the matter of discipline. (This was before kids had cell phones or TVs, computers, and games systems in their rooms!) In our house, there was no time off for good behavior and the length of grounding could be increased at parental discretion if good behavior was disregarded.
After the grounding had been announced and enforced, my husband and I continued to quarrel until he decided to run some errands to give us a chance to cool down. I remember sitting at my computer desk crying. I was frustrated and hurt and clueless as to how to bring peace to my family. I was too busy sobbing, my head in my hands, to notice him leave his room and walk through the house to where I was sitting. My son put his arms around my neck and offered sweet words of comfort. “It’s okay Mom. Please don’t be sad.” I was so touched by the love he offered me, even after all the yelling and hurt feelings. I hugged him back. I wiped my eyes and he brought me a tissue to blow my nose. He hugged me again. I gave him a kiss and thanked him for being such a loving son and then ushered him back to his room. (He was still grounded.)
Bryan was grounded and knowing his actions could get him in more trouble, he chose to bravely walk past the threshold of his room through the house to comfort the woman who had just grounded him – the woman who moments ago was “stupid and mean” and who “doesn’t really love him”. His great big heart wouldn’t let him stay where it was safe and let me suffer even if there was a penalty to pay.
That’s the kind of courage I hope to have in my faith journey – the kind of courage to step outside my comfort zone and share God’s love with others even if they ridicule and ostracize me. In too many places in the world, there are people who openly share the Gospel knowing that they risk a lot more than scorn and hurt feelings. They risk being tortured, imprisoned, or killed and still they speak out because “God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving and disciplined spirit. So don’t be embarrassed to testify about our Lord…join us in suffering for the good news by the strength and power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8; The Voice)