When did you decide to stop trying for children of your own?
Where’s his real mother?
How much did he cost you?
By now, two years into motherhood, I’ve grown used to these words.
I hear them so often, surprise would be silly. But every time, my heart quickens and my face reddens. How can people be so insensitive? How can they not see that my precious son, whom I adopted at birth, is my own, that I too am his real mother—the one who holds him, feeds him, chases him, teaches him, tickles him, and prays with him?
Most of all, how can they not see that he is a person, not an object, priceless and beyond cost?
I want to correct, reprimand, and let my inquisitors know how their words cut. At the very least, I want to complain on Facebook and get some sympathy.
But I don’t. Because the words aren’t spoken with malice. People don’t mean to give offense. They mean well. Or, at least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.
Bearing wrongs patiently is the spiritual work of mercy that comes least naturally to me. I’m a redhead. I run hot. I crave justice. But, “the LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness” (Psalm 145:8). And I want to be like Him. So I’m trying.
I’m trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’m trying to assume the best of intentions and not make rash judgments. I’m also trying to not return insult for insult and offense for offense.
I’m not giving up on fighting for justice for others, but I am learning to endure injustices done to me, seeing them as opportunities for solidarity with Jesus, Who suffered the world’s greatest injustice with total love and zero complaints.
Again, this doesn’t come naturally to me. It doesn’t come naturally for most of us.
But Jesus says, “[I]f anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). His ways are so not our ways. We’ve seen where the world’s ways lead, though, from hurt to hurt to hurt.
Isn't it time we try a different way?