Editor’s Note: This column continues the story of Mary, Johnny and the broken glass statue, which appeared in the June 8 News Bulletin.
Grandma forgave Johnny for accidentally breaking her treasured glass bird statue, but the boy’s heart still harbored bitterness.
If Mary hadn’t startled him as he carefully lifted the figurine, none of this would have happened.
It was all her fault.
For a few days, Johnny avoided Mary. When he couldn’t avoid her, he spoke harshly toward her. When anyone else was around, he didn’t speak to his sister — except with his eyes, which would have burned holes through her if possible.
Grandma and Grandpa learned of this tension between Mary and Johnny, and noticed it was stemming from Johnny.
That evening during dinner, Grandpa asked Johnny about it.
“I’m very angry with Mary for causing me to drop Grandma’s statue!” Johnny blurted out. “If Mary hadn’t startled me, I never would have dropped it! It’s all her fault and I’m angry with her!”
Grandpa sat quietly for a few seconds before asking some questions.
“Johnny, did Mary put the statue in your hands?”
“Did Mary pull on your ear or twist your arm until you picked up the statue?”
“Did Mary do anything to make you pick up the statue?”
Johnny could see Grandpa’s point.
Grandpa said, “So, it is safe to say Mary did not entice you in any way to pick up the statue. You did that all on your own...”
“Yes,” Johnny said.
Grandpa paused a few moments. “Johnny, at whom are you really angry?” he said.
Johnny had a revelation.
“I’m actually angry with myself,” he said. “Grandma said to not pick it up, but I went against what she said. If I hadn’t picked it up, Mary wouldn’t have scolded me, I wouldn’t have dropped the statue, and Grandma’s statue would still be sitting on the shelf. It was my choice. I just didn’t want to have to admit it.”
Johnny turned to his sister and said, “I’m sorry I tried to blame you. And I’m sorry I treated you so badly. I hope you will forgive me.”
She smiled and said she did.
Jesus said in Luke 17:3, “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”
We must confess our mistakes. We must own up to our poor choices. And if someone hurts us, we need to forgive them.
This doesn’t mean we condone what was done; it means the power of the wrong action is lifted from us to bring new freedom in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.