I just had a moment of truth with my boys. There has been a lot of fighting between my older two boys lately. Words and actions that wound their hearts have been flung around sometimes carelessly and sometimes deliberately. Today the middle child came inside with tears streaming down his cheeks and was quickly followed in by his older brother frustrated and fighting back his own tears.
As I listened to each of them tell their side of the story my mama heart broke for them both. Amidst their tears and stories I whispered a quick prayer for wisdom in handling this situation that had potential to leave lasting painful memories for both.
While both stories were plausible based on each child's recent history, neither story quite matched the other. In that moment I realized quickly that it didn't matter what happened, what mattered was their hearts. I actually told them this. I told them that I wouldn't get involved in taking sides and determining who was right or wrong.
You see, any time we hurt someone with our words or actions we are in the wrong. It doesn't matter if the other person hurt first, retaliatory hurting is still hurting. I told my sons that part of doing life together is that we will disagree, we will sometimes hurt each other's feelings. We are human, we will make mistakes. It isn't if we make mistakes, it's when, and there is no relationship that is free of mistakes. Hurting each other is part of doing life together. Forgiving each other is how we do life WELL together.
I have long believed that how we handle circumstances in our lives is more important than the actual circumstance. Today I was able to share that with my boys. The conversion that started with tears and relationship fracture, ended with hugs and laughter. The fracture was mended before it became a break. The boys quit talking about the situation and started talking about how they were both feeling. When they both saw the heart of the other brother, being right wasn't as important as mending the relationship.
I can only pray that as they grow that they remember that being right isn't as important as being loving, that loving sometimes means laying down our right to be right. I pray that we continue to grow in grace towards each other. I pray that we will always regard people as more important than policies and procedures. And I pray that my boys grow up to know that family is safe, it is within this family unit that we can learn how to do life together well.