My One-Year-Old Taught Me Grace

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.

Psalm 103:8–14
My One-year-old Taught Me Grace

I started to bold some lines from the passage above, but I ended up emphasizing so much that it made little sense to me to keep the markup. I guess the point is… doesn’t this text just blow you away?

But I don’t think I really understood this until my son was born in January 2020.

During this first year, he’s bit, hit, and kicked me. He’s gotten into things, split drinks, and squeezed out an entire smoothie into a blanket only for me to sling smoothie all over the couch when I picked the blanket up.

Despite all this, there is nothing he could ever do to remove himself from my love. Even though the things he does now are unintentional and not at all malicious, I don’t see this dynamic changing between us.

When I read this passage, I can’t help but relate to God, but I know that if I am gracious, how much more gracious is the Father of us all?

He is slow to anger. He doesn’t keep His anger forever. He doesn’t deal with us according to our but according to His mercy. He shows compassion to His children.

Why?

“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

When I look at those little hands and feet, see that cute smile, and hold all twenty-three pounds of him in my arms, how could I ever feel any emotion towards him other than love?

There will be times in the future when he gets angry with me, intentionally disobeys me, and brings all kind of pain into his life through poor decisions.

Regardless, I’ll be there ready to shower him with mercy, , and compassion as God has shown towards me.

There is no other way I could treat him.

Yes, there will be discipline, but it will be from a place of love and mercy. The justice will be restorative, not retributive.

And I just don’t see how it could be any other way.

Thank God for my son, and thank God for the God whom my son has revealed to me.

One Reply to “My One-Year-Old Taught Me Grace”

  1. Jonah must have read Ps 103 since he, apparently, cited this psalm concerning God’s mercy toward the great city of Nineveh (4:1-3). He wanted God to sap those wicked individuals. Jonah is an excellent commentary on Psalm 103. Some years ago, I wrote a sermon on Jonah’s anger versus God’s mercy. Your illustration about your son is a classic. Your comments, too, are an excellent commentary on Psalm 103.

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