I crouched down to his eye level...again.
"Look at me. Right here. Look at my eyes."
He looks everywhere EXCEPT for my eyes.
"Sweetie, Look at Mama. You have to say I'm sorry."
(Every other word in the English language, and for that matter, any other language that has a presence in our home, he can mimic. In fact, he can mimic "I'm sorry" as well. Interestingly enough, he does have a little trouble pronouncing the sentence; one day, I tried a bunch of words out on him: "Sink" "Duck" "Door" "Sky" "Puppy"...they all came out great! His "I'm sorry" sounded more like "I'mss". I quit the parroting act for the time being, but when I was dressing him later, I verbalized my thoughts..."Little man, I can't believe how hard it is to get these pants up over your thighs!" "Thighs!" he declared. My child- you can say "thighs", but you can't say "I'm sorry"?!?!)
He begins to whine and squirm. I reseat him firmly on his bottom in front of the refrigerator.
"Say, 'I'm sorry', and you can get up. But you have to say it."
In my head, I'm ready to let him go. I'm pretty sure it's pointless. But then I see the sideways glance, and I know, I KNOW, that he knows what he's doing. It has been almost 15 minutes of this showdown, and I want to throw in the towel. I silently ask the Lord to renew my resolve to follow though on this. I also silently express my bafflement at the stubbornness and willfulness of a child so young!
"God, have I missed something? Have I taught him to be like this?"
"Sin," was the reply. "He has a sin nature. But he is still a child. You, dear Mama...how many times have I told you to look ME in the eyes? How many times have you avoided saying I'm sorry to one that you have wounded? How often do you refuse to accept forgiveness?"
Never have I seen my own sinfulness as clearly as I have parenting a toddler. It makes me wonder how often my Lord crouches down to my eye level and says,
"Look. Right here. Look at my eyes. I love you. I forgive you. Let's try it again."