The Day You Paid for a Stamp and Wrote an Apology

Caden,

I don’t know if you’ll ever read the stuff I’ve written, but maybe just maybe…you will. And if you do, I want these memories and anecdotes (both happy and hard) to serve as sweet reminders of our love for you–reminders of our commitment to raising and training you to be a young man who walks in integrity, lives in love, and follows hard after Jesus.

So today, I’m writing you a letter about the day we made you pay for a stamp and write your grandmother an apology letter.

The details of your behavior aren’t important (sin is sin, and sin is never okay), but we want you to know that because we love you and care about your character, there are several reasons why we chose this specific punishment for your six year-old self.

  1. We wanted you to take ownership for your behavior. Though you may have been triggered or hurt by someone or something else, your behaviors are always and will always be your behaviors.
  2. We wanted you to take the time to acknowledge to someone else (even after the fact) that your behavior was not acceptable. Hopefully, taking the time to acknowledge your wrong, not only gives you an opportunity to reflect on the offense, but it also gives you some extra time to search your heart and allow for a soft and remorseful heart.
  3. We wanted the apology to take some effort. Because apologies can be easily uttered and moved on from, we wanted you to take the time to offer a heartfelt apology that required something from you. And for you, writing involves some effort, so you penned your apology with ink and a few tears.
  4. We wanted you to realize that your actions, though forgiven, can be hurtful and affect others. People are made in His image and because they were made in His image, they have value. And because they have value, we want you to realize that your actions should be ones that honor the value of the creation. And when they don’t, we need to confess and repent.
  5. We wanted you to know that though it’s good to accept the apology of another and move forward, it’s also okay to sit with your sin (a bit) and acknowledge it. Too many times, we want to ask for forgiveness without feeling the weight of our sin. We want to move on, and we want to move on in a hurry. Why? Because we don’t like our sin, and we don’t want to sit with our brokenness. But when we sit with it (for a bit), we realize our need for both earthly and heavenly forgiveness.
  6. We wanted you to realize that your sin (though not always immediate) has consequences, and sometimes those consequences “hit” us in places that are dear to us. Because of that, we asked you to use your own money to pay for the stamp to send the apology. We know that was hard for you, and we’re okay with it; sin hurts us, too.
  7. We wanted to teach you humility, helping you acknowledge that your imperfections and sins can only be made right by the ONE who is perfectly sinless. If we can’t acknowledge our imperfections to finite souls, how will we ever acknowledge them to our infinite Creator?
  8. We wanted you to know that because we love and care about your heart, we were willing to take the time to address your behavior in a tangible and intentional way. We were willing to help you invest in your apology because we have a vested interest in stewarding your soul.

Son, we love you and are crazy proud of you. Truly, you are all kinds of special and all kinds of wonderful to us. And because we love you (imperfections and all) and because we believe you and others have value, we asked you to spend your money, time, and effort on writing an apology letter to your grandmother on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017.

Love,

Your grace-needing, mercy-dependent parents

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