Listen Son, I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little hand crumpled under your cheek
and blonde curls sticky over your wet forehead. I have broken into your room alone. Just a few
minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me.
Guilty, I came to your bedside.
There are things which I am thinking, son; I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you
were dressing for school because you gave your face a mere dab with the towel. I took you to
task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You
put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. As you started off to
play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” I
frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”.
Then it began all over again late this afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down
on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your socks. I humiliated you before your
friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Socks were expensive, and if you had to buy
them you would be more careful! Imagine that son, from a father.
Do you remember later, when I was reading in the library, how you came timidly, with
sort of a hurt look in your eyes? I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption; you
hesitated at the door. “What is it that you want?” I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, threw your arms around my
neck and kissed me, your small arms tightened with affection that God had set blooming in your
heart, which even neglect could not wither. Then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, Son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible
sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, or
reprimanding; this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you: it
was that I expected too much of you. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
There is so much that was good, fine and true in your character. The little heart of yours
was as big as the dawn itself over the hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush
in and kiss me good night. Nothing else mattered tonight. Son, I have come to your beside in the
darkness, I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know that you would not understand these things which I have
told you in the waking hours. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, suffer
when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I
will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy–a little boy.”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, Son, crumpled and
weary in your bed. I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms,
your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much!
Instead of condemning and criticizing others, perhaps we it would be better to try to understand them, to try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness, rather than contempt…!!!
From Lead Them Home: Bill Henson’s Ministry Journal:
Holy Love originates in the Vine from which pure and undefiled love flows into us (for us) and through us (for others). Tapping into it is referred to biblically as abiding in Christ. When we abide in Him, we live godly lives ourselves and reflect mercy to others – whether they live for God or not.
When we fail to abide in Him, we split love into binary exclusives missing the full character of God.
We twist love into a truth stream that hits others like a hammer – particularly those who fall short of our particular sensitivities about God’s truth. Like the disciples, we turn the Gospel into a sword. We use God to hurt others. We team up with others who do likewise. This is the Pharisee.
Or else we twist love into a mercy stream that transforms God’s grace into a license to live however we wish. We turn away from God’s boundaries in order to grant ourselves leniency with few limits. We use God to get our way. We join with others who do likewise. This is the Sinner.
The worst case scenario occurs when I opportunistically demand a truth stream for others while granting a mercy stream for myself. I harshly condemn others while ignoring God’s demands upon my life. Lest we blame the other, the conservative and liberal both make this mistake.
Holy Love crucifies self-determination destroying our right to live life our way. When we enter it, our flesh begs to be fed. Only then do we discover its’ true corruptible nature. When we previously let our flesh rule, it was impossible to see just how demanding it was. Now, we know! We fall short…
Recognizing how we turned God’s grace into a license to sin, we cry for mercy. Here, God’s grace becomes amazing not because He grants us our way but because we suddenly need a Savior. It can be hard to realize this, because we so often refuse to repent of the people and pleasures we cherish.
Whoever experiences this kind of repentance finds that Holy Love is not easy – it is difficult and costly! We can no longer control God’s will; nor withhold God’s love from others. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. Branches never direct the vine, and they never prune one another.