Chapter 4 – Forgiveness

Selfish2
Temper Tantrum

After Miley stomped home, Emily had to figure out what to do about her friend’s temper tantrum.   She did not like it when Miley tried to control everyone and everything to get her own way.  Selfishness only spoiled a kids day and made everybody feel bad.

As Emily was thinking about what to do next she looked over at the girls and observed that Sara was twisting her hands and Katie was looking down, as if studying her shoes.

“I am so mad at Miley right now.  All I want is to have fun with my friend’s, but Miley’s bossiness ruined it all!”  Right in the middle of the anger, firing up in her heart, she remembered a talk she had with Mama.  Emily knew she needed to calm down and do the right thing.

A Heart of Forgiveness

The talk Emmy was remembering, happened on a day she was very angry at a boy at school.  Mama told Emily it was important to have a heart of forgiveness.

“Mama, I am so angry at Cooper. He makes fun of everybody!  He picked on Kathy today.  He laughed at her and teased her.  He said, ‘You look like a beaver with those teeth,’ Kathy was in tears.  He got all the kids laughing at her.”

“Oh, poor Kathy,”  Mama answered, “Mean words really hurt people.”  Mama paused then said, “Cooper must be hurting too.”

Emily looked puzzled.  “No, Mama!  Cooper is not hurting, he is the one hurting kids.”  Emily insisted. “Why would you say Cooper is hurting?”  Emily felt defensive for her friend, Kathy.

Mama looked at Emily with her serious, kind eyes, the way she always looks whendownload she is about to say something important.   “Emily, there is a saying I want you to remember. It’s a true saying, it goes like this … Hurt people … hurt people.”   Mama was quiet as she looked deep into Emily’s eyes.

Emily wiggled uncomfortably and then responded,“Well, I don’t know about that Mama but I’d like to hurt Cooper!”

Mama shook her head slightly as she said, “So Emily, how long are you going to hang on to anger?” Emily pulled her lips tight against her teeth and then opened them to say, “I don’t know Mama, I’m really mad!”  Mama put her hand on Emily’s shoulder as she said, “Do you know, honey, it is dangerous to hold on to anger?  We must never allow anger to feel at home in our heart’s Emily.”  Mama continued, “There is something else you need to know about anger.  When we allow a person’s bad behavior to control how we feel we give that person power.”

“Mama, what do you mean by power, do you mean like superhero power?”  asked Emly.

Mama laughed softly as her mouth turned to a smile. “No honey, the word power, in this case, means that you give someone else permission to control how you feel.  Today you gave Cooper the power to make you feel angry, so angry, in fact, that you wanted to hurt him. Emily, no one can make you angry or ruin your day unless you give them the power to do that.  It is your choice, honey.”  

Mama gave Emily a lot to think about.  “But Mama, what do I do when I AM angry” urged Emily.

“First of all, understand that you have a choice.  You can be angry or you can forgive.”  Emily’s eyebrows came together as she considered this. “Honey, you can hold on to a hurt and let it grow inside of you or you can release the hurt to God.”  Mama continued, “When we choose to hold on to angry feelings toward anyone  …  there are consequences. 

What kind of consequences? asked Emily.  

Well, when you let anger stay in your heart, that feeling will not stop there.  When anger is held in your heart it grows into really bad feelings like bitterness, maybe even hatred.   When you allow your feelings to take you to such bad places you are actually hurting yourself.”  

Emily began to understand that she did have a choice about her own feelings.

Mama took a moment to form her next words. “Emmy, when you give your power away to someone else, by NOT forgiving, it’s kind of like putting yourself behind bars and becoming a prisoner.  It is even worse than that.  Not only do you put yourself behind bars (as a prisoner to anger, bitterness and hatred) but you also hand the key right over to the person who was mean or unkind.  You give them control.  The key is yours, Emily,”  Mama said, “Don’t give it to anyone.”

girl - prison
Prison Of Unforgiveness

Emily knew what she must do about Miley.  “I will forgive Miley and let the bad feelings go and  I won’t feel guilty because Miley went home.” Emily knew it was not her fault that Miley went home.  She did not make Miley choose bad behavior.  Emily was NOT going to be a prisoner on this beautiful sunny day.

Who is the Boss?

Before Emily talked to the girls she released her anger and sent up a quick prayer for Miley.  Emily pictured herself holding hands with Miley.  As she talked to God she put Miley’s hand in Jesus’s strong hand.   “Dear God,” Emmy prayed, “Miley tried to ruin our day and she hurt our feelings too.  I pray for Miley and I hope you will teach her how to share and be kind.  I am choosing to forgive her right now like mama taught me to forgive.  I give Miley to you Jesus … and now I will be free to be happy.  Thank you, Jesus, Amen!

Emily turned toward the girls thinking, “We’ll just start over.” “Girls, What do you want to do?” she asked.  Katie said that anything was fine with her but then she paused a second before she asked, “Emmy, Who is the Boss?”  Emily smiled at Katie and said, “Let’s talk about what we ALL want to do and decide together okay?”

Katie smiled back as she shook her head happily;  Turning her attention to Sara Emily asked, “And you ….?”   Sara thought a moment and while twisting her hands she asked, “Well, I still would like to play house, can we take turns being the mom?”  “I think that is a great Idea Sara!” answered Emily enthusiastically.

Turning back to Katie she continued, “Katie, how would you like to be the mom first?” Katie smiled brightly, shook her head yes as she jumped up, ran to her pretend daughters and hugged them.  “Okay girls, let’s play house.”

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Emily began their play time by looking at Sara and asking,  “Mama, can we make chocolate chip cookies?”  “Why, of course, sweetheart,” answered Sara in her most grown-up voice, “What type of cookies would you like to make?”   

Emily thought it was adorable when Sara pretended to be a grown up because, as hard as she tried to sound like a grown up, she still had a squeaky little girl’s voice.  “I’d like chocolate chip cookies, please” answered Emily politely.

The girls played for a long time.  They went grocery shopping by the big Pine Trees. They named the place, Pine’s grocery store.  The girls picked up pine cones as they pretended to gather ingredients.  Katie (Mama) smiled at her girls, “You girls are such BIG helpers to Mama, I don’t know what I would do without you.”  Emily and Sara beamed back at Katie, they were so happy to hear her kind words.

When they got back to the playhouse the girls pretended to make the cookie dough.  Sara and Emily were making a mess with the pretend flour.  Some of it fell on the floor.  Katie, in her serious grown up voice, said, “Girls, girls, pay attention – look at the floor!”  Both girls stopped and looked down at the imaginary flour covering the floor.  Katie (Mama) told Emily to get the broom and she told Sara to grab the dustpan.  She instructed Emily to sweep slowly so the flour dust didn’t fly all over the place.  The girls worked together quickly and carefully.  When it was all cleaned up they joined Katie to  put the cookie dough on the pans.

The girl’s pretended to plop a scoop of dough, one at a time, on the cookie sheet.  Next, they put the cookies in Emily’s play oven.  After about five minutes the girls looked excited as they pretended to smell the cookies baking. “Oh, I can hardly wait to eat my cookie! Sara exclaimed as she jumped up and down.   A few seconds later, Katie (mama) told Sara she could take the cookies out of the oven.

Sara put imaginary hot pad gloves on.  Next, she opened the oven door and pulled out a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.  Sitting them on the counter she grabbed a pretend spatula and pretend plates.  She expertly served up 2 pretend chocolate chip cookies on the girl’s pretend plate.  As the girls lifted their imaginary cookie to their mouths they made sounds like, “mmmm” and “oooh,” in order to express how delicious the cookies tasted.  Suddenly Emily realized she was hungry.

Just then Emily’s sister Molly called for Emily. “It’s time for lunch Emmy.” Emily told the girls she had to go but they were welcomed to stay and play.  The girls told Emily they were hungry too.  Sara said, “We’ll go home and eat lunch too Emmy but we will be back as soon as we are done.”  “Great!” replied Emily, “See you after lunch.”

Forgiveness

As Emily and Molly were walking to the house they saw Miley slowly making her way toward them.  “Emily,”  Miley, began with a sadness in her voice.  Emmy noticed her head was bent down, “I’m sorry I was being bossy again, can we start over?”

forgivenessEmily smiled big,  “Of course we can Miley!”  Emily said with joyful conviction.  “I have to eat first and then I can play.  The Anderson sisters are coming back.   It will be fun to have you play with us too.”   Miley let out a big breath of air as a smile of relief traveled across her face, “Oh thank you, Emily, I know I need to work on my bad behavior.  I am so thankful that you forgive me so quickly.”  The girls hugged each other and then Miley turned and skipped all the way back to her house.

Emily was so happy that her Mama taught her to be quick to forgive.  Jesus said whenever we pray, we need to forgive. Emmy tried to remember to think before she prayed to make sure there was no unforgiveness in her heart.  Mama called it examining your heart.

Before praying Emily would ask herself if she was mad at anyone or if anyone had hurt her feelings?  If she found anger or hurt in her heart, she forgave.  Even though Emily would sometimes feel very angry, Mama said, just obey Jesus and forgive no matter how you feel.  Emily was learning to forgive with her words in a prayer to Jesus.

Mama told Emily, “If you obey, Jesus will heal your heart and turns your anger into compassion for the person who hurt you.”   Emily knew one thing for sure; She always felt so much better after she forgave people.