One of my worst nightmares came true for me today.

After our homeschool group Co-Op some of the families went to Burger King to let the kids play on the indoor play equipment. There were about 15 or so kids from our group there, but the equipment is huge, so we weren’t too worried about them. A few other kids came in with their fathers and were playing happily on the equipment.

All until one of the dads came over to our group of moms and asked whose kid it was who was in the red shirt. Why? Because he had just watched him “beat up” his nephew. My heart sank as I realized my oldest was wearing a red shirt, and my worst fears were confirmed when the other kids said that it had indeed been he who was the culprit.

I apologized profusely to the father, asking what had happened, my eyes searching frantically for Will as I called his name and told him to hustle his rear down here.

He came off the equipment with a big grin on his face, seemingly oblivious to anything that had happened. When I asked him what had happened his face and tears started to fall. I broke it to him that he was going to have to go and apologize to the boy and that we were leaving immediately after to go home.

He refused. Said he was afraid. He didn’t want to go talk to the boy and make things right. I grabbed his face in my hands, forcing him to look into my eyes. I told him he had to, it was not an option. He had chosen to sin. He had to make it right, confess the sin, whether he wanted to or not. When you choose to sin, you choose to suffer – and his suffering at that moment was to have to humble himself and approach the boy and ask forgiveness.

He still refused. Until he asked for his younger brother, Jay, to be by his side. I knelt beside him, trying my best to encourage him and not burst into tears. While waiting for Jay to come, I overheard the father coaching his son, telling him to go over and tell Will it was ok.

With renewed determination and feeling somewhat encouraged, I pushed Will in the direction of the boy, Jay by his side. I literally had to hold him there, or else he would have bolted. He managed to get the words out and the boy forgave him.

We collected our things and left, he as limp as a noodle and me holding back the tears.

What in the world had gone wrong? Will is not a bully. But he does have an aggressive streak which we have seen surface when he is either over-tired, over-excited or provoked. It has typically only been against his brother, since that is who he spends most of his time with. But it hasn’t appeared in a long while and we always deal swiftly with it. So this took me quite by surprise, but not.

I’m not sure what bothered me the most out of the situation, aside from the fact that he had bullied the boy. The uncle had somewhat exaggerated the situation, as I got the whole story out later (he had pushed the boy out of their group, telling him he wasn’t a part of their “gang”). But don’t get me wrong, Will’s attitude toward the boy was absolutely sinful and unacceptable.

I told Will he is NEVER to be a part of a group that excludes ANYONE. Genesis 1:27 says that “God created man in his own image”. He created every single person on this earth and he loves them all the same, so we need to show love to them also, no matter how they are treating us.

What was really hard for me to see was his struggle to confess. As I watched the tears stream down his face and his shoving up against me to get as far away from the situation as possible, I was slammed with a reminder of myself.

Recently I had been running from a situation where I KNEW I’d done wrong, but I just “couldn’t” go to the person to confess – out of fear, embarrassment, rebellion, or whatever. I tried to ignore the situation and refused and dug my hole of guilt even deeper.

But then God took my face in his hands and reminded me that he loves me and cares for me and didn’t want me to continue on the path of destruction that I had started down when I first decided to sin. He gave me a chance to make the situation right, and when I didn’t take it and let more time go by, he graciously gave me a second chance.

Then he sent people to stand by my side, to encourage and pray for me, gently prodding me in the right direction. Like Jay standing by his brother’s side gave him courage, the prayer and support of those around us  can help us to face the tough situations we need.

As upset as this whole event has made me, I am grateful for a few reminders:

1) We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). No matter how much” training” and “discipling”, there is still that temptation to sin.

2) God has placed us in a loving and caring Christian community to build each other up, pray for, extend forgiveness and to encourage each other to do what is right – not letting others slip under the radar and get away with allowing sin to go unconfessed.

3) I love my children. They keep me humble. I am not supermom. Not by a long shot. But I can love my kids, forgive them when they sin, point them to the truth, and keep on praying.