TITLE: A Mountain of Offenses 7/11?2020
By Linda Lawrence
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A Mountain of Offenses
I sputtered in frustration. “That makes me so mad!” There sat an open jar of peanut butter, a gooey knife on a sticky counter, crumbs and a milk-rimmed glass on the kitchen table. Pity the woman who marries this boy!
Because my husband was away on a business trip, I was almost salivating on the way home from work, looking forward to a weekend of solitude in my clean, recently emptied nest. My husband enjoyed having our son use our house as a pit stop, but it had obviously gotten on my nerves, big time.
This is just like when he . . . (blah, blah, blah) . . . I rehearsed, the mess in the kitchen all out of proportion. My husband would say, “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.” But in my mind the pile of offenses had grown as high as Mount Everest.
Appalled at the actual taste of bile in my mouth, I realized I had to do something about my ongoing irritation with our twenty-year-old son. The silently swallowed irritations were fermenting and if I didn’t find a release. I was afraid I’d explode. There would have to be a confrontation.
I hate confrontation, but I also hated what was happening inside me. I was turning sour. Our son had recently moved into a friend’s garage, and since he didn’t sleep at our house, he felt quite independent. When he came to raid our refrigerator he saw no need to clean up after himself. He was, after all, a guest.
I planned to make a list of offenses--things he needed to know if he was ever going to be a good husband. I then visualized he would apologize. I would forgive him. My anger would be gone. It seemed like a reasonable plan. I made my list: seven years of suppressed frustration. I had thirty-six complaints.
For a physical release of my tension, I went on a long walk; list in hand, my feet pounding out a prayer for God’s help in the upcoming confrontationTiring, I slowed down my frustrated striding in order to tune in to a familiar, still, small voice. Suddenly I had a quite different confrontation.
<b>I want you to forgive him for every offense.</b><I> Oh Lord, I will as soon as he understands what he’s done that is so offensive.</I>
<b>I want you to forgive him right now and tear up the list</b>, <I> But, but Lord,</I> I mentally sputtered, <I> I can't do that yet because then he will never know what he's doing wrong.</I>
<b>That's between him and Me. This is between you and Me.</b><I> I can’t,</I> I groaned, my heart and feet heavy with weariness from carrying a mammoth load of bitterness. Traffic roared in the distance, but in my head was the roar of a lion, trying to drown the still, small, but commanding voice. How could I just let go of the mountain of past offenses?<I> Help me, Lord, I don’t know how to get rid of them.</I>
<b>Give them to Me.</b><I> Without his knowing how much I’m forgiving?</I>
<b>Yes, give them to Me.</b>
So, reluctantly, slowly, but obediently, I tore the list into shreds. Immediately, the roar was like a flood carrying away the mountain I’d allowed to pile up during my son’s teenage years, wiping my son’s slate clean. I almost floated home.
Since God had removed the mountain, instead of confronting my son that weekend, I busied myself pruning overgrown shrubbery. There was much that needed to be hauled away to the landfill. However, only my son had access to a pick-up. So the debris piled up in the front yard.
My son dropped by later that weekend and I was secretly pleased at not feeling irritated, and instead, actually glad to see him. But I was dumbstruck with awe, when he said, “I see you’ve been cleaning up the yard. I’ll take that stuff to the dump for you, if you want."
“Why, thank you!” I exclaimed. “That would be a great help.”
Little did he know how great his offer to help me affirmed that my struggle was not with him. I realized my irritability truly is between God and me. God continually uses my irritability to make me more dependent on Him. It seems we are never quite independent. God removed the bitterness towards my son, but there will always be irritants in my life. However, God says His power is best seen in our weakness. So, since I can’t get rid of irritation, I’m depending on God to do the dumping, not my son. After all, the God who can move or remove mountains can also transform what He prunes into landfill, a functional mountain.
In fact, incidentally, ten years later, my beautiful daughter-in-law told me, without my asking, that my son is a very thoughtful, considerate, responsible husband.
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