He threw the bowl down and stormed off to his room, but before he got through the doorway, he turned around, and with tears stinging his eyes, yelled, “You suck!” He crossed his arms and finished his rant into his room. I knew he didn’t mean it. Hot anger had made my son say nasty words because his little heart was hurt.
In fact, six minutes later (one minute for each year), I sat across from him, face-to-face, and asked him if he meant those words or if he was just angry. He barely looked at me, ashamed I’m sure at what he did. He was unwilling to speak, to admit he was responsible for his outburst, almost in denial that he could have shouted such atrocities at his mother whom he loved. I never doubted his affection for me for one moment, but justice must be paid (his time out) and reconciliation made. So, I looked into his eyes and told him, “I know you didn’t mean those things. I know you said them because you were angry. I know you love me. Are you sorry for what you did?”
This time the tears rolled down his cheeks again, but out of deep sorrow, as he nodded his head and quietly said, “I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you, Buddy. And I love you.”
It was in that moment that I realized this is what confession is like. I sin in hot fits of passion—yelling at the kids, blaming my husband for what’s going wrong in life, relying on myself when I feel inadequate, talking poorly about a friend when I’m insecure. Not that I don’t have a choice, but the Father knows my heart and all the emotions that lead me to those sinful choices.
He never doubts my love for him, and every time I enter the confessional, I sit face to face with Jesus, and he says, “Are you sorry for what you did? I never doubted your love for me . . . and I forgive you.”