The following devotion can be found in Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood, Volume 1: Old Testament, available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.
Fire and Ice
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18
Kids. They can be so headstrong, can’t they?! They erupt in anger so easily. They pout and whine when they don’t get their way. In fact, they are a lot like their mothers. Often, we soothe our consciences, saying that we are correct, our way is better, or we’ve got their best in mind. But truly, we moms have moments when our hearts are just as icy as our children’s.
In the passage above, God reminds us that He is the Lord. If anyone has a “right” to demand His own way, it’s the Creator of the Universe, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. God requires in His law that we not bear any grudges. Christian moms can especially see our failure in this regard when we look into the mirror of the law. We are filthy. We “forgive” in lip-service to our children, but in our hearts we count their sins against them and let their injuries affect our interactions with them in the future. God demands perfection. But where God demands, He also provides.
Our Savior Jesus bore no grudges of His own. The only grudges He bore were ours: those He took with Him to destroy at the cross. When we reflect on Jesus’ fiery passion and His warm love toward us that led Him to a bitter, searing death, God melts our icy hearts. He gives us strength to forgive the wounds our children generate, not just with our words, but also with our hearts. He has forgiven us fully and loves us as His own self, yes—even as His dearly loved children.
Exalt our low desires,
Extinguish passion’s fires,
Heal ev’ry wound.
Our stubborn spirits bend,
Our icy coldness end,
Our devious steps attend
While heav’nward bound. (ELH 11:4)
For Further Reading: Leviticus 19; Ephesians 4:32
Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Casper, Wyoming, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (Old Testament vol., 2018; New Testament vol., 2023), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).