Jesus and the Brokenhearted

When I finally got to talk to her, she stood in front of me bravely and without a hint of pain lining her face. Bravely I say because what would a 46-year old mother say to a 13-year old teen who’s not even her daughter? But she’s Hannah’s dear friend and I really care for her. When Hannah told me about her friend’s family breaking up, my heart went out to her and her Mom. I was touched deeply when Hannah said that her friend told her it’s okay to tell me.

I remember the first time I met her. She was barely 8 years old, the same age as Hannah. Hannah presented her to me, her newfound friend, as I sat at our doorstep. I squeezed her chubby arms then, letting her know I wanted her and Hannah to be real friends. Beginning that day, the two spent sunny summer days biking around the neighborhood. One morning, as I was settling in my usual spot at our doorstep fronting the garage, I saw a piece of paper wedged in our gate. Hannah took it and read. It was a note from her friend. It simply said, You’re my best friend forever. This, even before the word BFF became so overused and commonplace. But there was nothing commonplace in their friendship. One, if I’m honest to admit, that I actually envy. (Ever since my closest friend emigrated to Canada, I had not found someone whom I can call “BFF”).

So, Hannah’s friend stood in front of me, Hannah right beside her, much like that very first day I met her. I asked how she was, and her Mom, too. Many times, I had to blink back tears as we talked. But she carried herself remarkably well, not once breaking down. In the end, I told her I’d pray for her and her Mom.

Marriages implode, families are torn apart, hearts shatter and bleed. We can only do as much – love, care, pray. As Christ-followers, we share in their pain and burden, but it’s only really the Lord Jesus Christ who can heal, redeem, and restore what was broken. I can’t even begin to imagine the raw pain, the anguish, brought about by a crumbled home and being pinned down underneath the hopeless, ugly heap.

Our family had once walked down that road, although it wasn’t as final and hopeless. Because of our testimony, because of what the Lord has done in our lives, I can believe that there is hope for every smashed-up heart. If not healing and restoration, it can be healing and a new life. A new beginning. These are all possible in Christ.

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (John 10:10 MSG)

This is my hope and prayer for Hannah’s friend and her family, and for all the others out there whose peace and joy have been stolen and lives have been destroyed. All our hope is in Jesus who gave His life so we can find ours in Him.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Ps. 51:17)

(Photo courtesy of my cousin Bill Raras).

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Teaching Kids to Forgive

On Tuesday morning, the two cousins finally met. Tim came near to 4-year old Janica and said, “Hi Janica!” And hugged her happily. It’s my niece Janica’s first time to visit the Philippines with her parents, and Hannah and Tim had been excitedly waiting for their arrival. Tim and Janica instantly hit it off and became friends. Or so we thought. After a few hours of playing, they were already quarrelling. It had something to do with the rules of a board game they were playing. Janica was at once on the offensive. Clutching Hannah’s hand, she said in a slightly angry voice, “He’s a bad boy! Let’s play upstairs but we’ll not include that boy!”

(image source)

My older sister (not Janica’s Mom) and I looked at each other, surprised, as Tim snuggled close to me, shocked and hurt. My sister and I understood that the two kids have different cultural backgrounds and maybe, Janica is used to communicating with kids in school that way. Tim started to cry silently but he was also mad. All three of us (my sister, Hannah, and me) tried to reconcile the two. We were able to convince Janica that Tim was not bad and she needed to say sorry. And she did. Slowly, she approached Tim and hugged him. But Tim remained hostile. Twice, Janica approached him to reconcile, but Tim had made up his mind. He was angry and sulky.

After everyone left for the Duty Free shop, I talked to Tim. I felt there was an urgency that the two young cousins must patch up and become good friends. Janica’s vacation is just very short. I tried again to convince him to accept Janica’s apology. But he answered angrily, “She said I’m a bad boy. She’s not my friend and she can go back to the states!” Huh?

“Tim, you know Lord Jesus, right? That He is Lord and King and He lives in heaven but came down to earth because He loved the people? The people were not doing good. So, dearest Jesus came to save them so that they would not all go to hell. Because He loved them so much. He loves us so much. Jesus was good to them but they crucified Him. They wanted Him to die. They said bad words to Him that hurt Him. But do you know what He did?”

Tim was silently listening.

“He forgave them! He did not get angry at  them. Even if they hurt Him, He still forgave them. And He wants that we must also forgive those who hurt us. Janica hurt you but she was sorry. You must forgive her and become friends again.” Still, he refused.

“If you will not forgive her, the Lord will not forgive you. He will not listen to your prayers and will not give you what you’re asking for. It’s in the Bible. Do you want us to read it?”

“Yes.”

I opened my virtual Bible to Matthew 6:14-15:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

He read it, twice.

“What are sins, Mommy?”

“Sins are the bad things people do, like saying words that hurt. Would you like us to pray so that dearest Jesus will teach Tim to forgive?” He nodded. So we prayed and Tim promised that he would hug Janica when he arrived from school and tell her he loved her and that they were friends.

When Tim arrived from school in the afternoon, Janica ran to him and said, “I’m sorry I got mad at you!” They hugged. They played all afternoon until night.

If only we adults had the same humility like a child’s, maybe then there’d be lesser conflicts in the world and more reconciliations, don’t you think so? :)

“…Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat. 18:3-4)

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I might be linking up with these lovely blogs.

Journey with Jesus,