Monday, November 7, 2011

FORGIVING OTHERS - Part 2: 1,001 Stupid Things People Say & Do

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34, NIV

My daughter came to me crying Saturday morning.  Our 70 pound golden doodle had gotten at the glazed donut my husband so graciously bought for her.  Since they are such a rarity in our house, she was devastated.  Never mind that she had set it down for only a moment on the ladder steps to her bunk bed.  She proclaimed our dog "naughty" and "bad".  I found myself explaining to her that the dog was neither of those things, he was just an unintelligent animal, doing what animals do.  It was her responsibility to eat the donut promptly or put it in a place out of reach of the dog.

Crazy as it may sound, the people we encounter as parents of children with special needs should be viewed in much the same light.  They are ignorant humans doing what humans do.  People are inclined to want to provide a quick fix to our problems, give us a quick easy word to soothe us, or just not know what to do in their feelings of awkwardness.

I learned prior to having children that people are prone to this sort of activity when my husband and I experienced multiple miscarriages and years of infertility.  Oh, the comments!  "Now you have a little angel in heaven," "There was something wrong with that baby that you wouldn't have wanted to deal with anyway," and "Just adopt and you'll get pregnant in no time," were just a few of the brilliant remarks people had for us.  Never mind that we just would have loved to be hugged, understood and had any random act of kindness brought our way at that time.

By the time we finally became parents, I thought the foolish things people said and did were behind us, but they only arrived in a different flavor.  "Is she a good baby?", was the first idiotic-but-common utterance we heard from people when our eldest was born.  Honestly?  What did people expect us to say -- No, she's awful! Take her back?

When our son's hemophilia made its grand appearance right along with him, the piercing words and actions reached a new level.  People avoided us out of discomfort.  I was condemned by relatives because I am the genetic carrier of the disorder.  And the winner of the dumbest comments was a complete stranger walking past us on the street, inquiring as to why my tiny infant had a medical alert bracelet.   Lacking savvy enough to tell the woman to mind her own business, I shared my baby's diagnosis.  She promptly informed me, "Oh, we had a dog who had that.  We had to put him down."  How was that supposed to comfort the parent of a newborn facing such a difficult future?

My point is this, in our journey as parents of children with special needs, we will encounter countless words and deeds that we will need to forgive.  As my friend aptly puts it, "people don't know what they don't know".  They are often well-meaning and completely ignorant.  And we need to picture their words and actions like fluffy, foolish feathers on our hands that we blow off.  When we fail to forgive these situations, we are the big losers in the end.  We give the thing that wounds us too much power, and it eats us up inside.

I often ruminate about how Jesus must have felt with all the hurtful words and deeds hurled at Him, the God that lovingly came to save His people.  Despite the heartache He must have experienced, He continued to set a loving example for us all.  Forgive.  Know that people have many limitations.  Move forward in God's power and leave the hurts behind you.

Prayer:  Father, forgive the people who hurt us with their hurtful words and deeds.  Remind us that there have probably been times when we unknowingly have done the same.  Help us to walk uprightly by the strength of Your Spirit.

*See the full presentation on Bathing In The Healing Power of Forgiveness at HTTP://INCLUSIONFUSION.ORG.

1 comment:

  1. There are a ton of ignorant comments, aren't there? Ironically, one that gets my ire up like no other is, "God never gives us more than we can handle." I'd like to see anyone else handle this! Ha ha!