• Dana L. Butler

Looking Beyond Behavior and Into the Heart

Seemingly out of nowhere, he slams his cup off the highchair tray and onto the floor.

A calm, stern warning from me…followed by an attempt to help him finish his applesauce.

He angrily shoves my hand away.

Another stern word… and he cries.  Head hanging low over his tray, big tears dropping.

And I realize…he’s grieving.

“Buddy, can you use your words and tell Mommy why you’re sad?”

He mumbles through his tears, something about “Daddy.”

And my heart bleeds a little for him because no matter how many times I tell him we’ll see Daddy in just 2 more days, he doesn’t have a grid to understand that….and he definitely doesn’t understand why Daddy’s not here.

And anger and defiance can be a cloak that only thinly veils a grieving heart.

I comfort him, extend grace and kisses…and soon he’s playing again with his firetruck… and I’m remembering the couple at that rest area on the road yesterday who angered me to the point that I completely avoided eye contact or speaking to them for 20 minutes while we ate lunch at picnic tables near each other… which is so very unlike me.

How often do I forget to look beyond the offensive behavior to see the brokenness?  The hurting heart behind the frustrating actions?  

Forgive me, Father.  Forgive me, and remind me to look at others… no, to look INTO others… with Your perspective.

And the times when people’s brokenness manifests in being inconsiderate and I am inconvenienced, these are the hardest times to look through eyes of grace.  What about MY rights?

And yet so very much grace has been extended to me… and do I really have “rights” anymore if my life is hidden in Christ?

Doesn’t HE promise to fight for me so that I no longer have to fight for myself?

Oh God, help me remember.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded;

and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

“Freely you have received; freely give.”

Father, in light of your grace which I’ve so freely received…help me trust Your heart to fight for me, lay down my perceived rights, and extend grace… Give me your eyes, God…that I may see beyond actions and into hearts.

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