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The Apology His Kids Needed

Author Pete Greig shares the following story in How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People:

I was walking the darkened streets near our house one night, reviewing the day before bed, remembering how I'd driven Sammy [my wife] and the boys to the cinema and how someone had cut us off. I'd yelled at him. Sammy had yelled at me. I'd yelled at Sammy. Hadn’t she seen how dangerously the other guy was driving? Had she forgotten that we had vulnerable children in the car? Didn't she know there was such a thing as righteous anger? She'd gone silent.

We arrived at the cinema. The film had been great. Life had moved on. No big deal. But now in the stillness of these darkened streets, as I returned to that moment, it seemed that God was siding with my wife. I sighed. "Okay, I'm sorry. I admit it: I lost my temper. I shouldn't have yelled at that driver. Lord, help me to be more patient tomorrow."

There was a pause before I sensed him telling me to apologize to our sons. This thought annoyed me, and I found myself protesting. "That's ridiculous. You're making this bigger than it is. My kids don't need me to apologize. They won't even remember such a trivial incident. Do you have any idea what the traffic is like around here?"

Ten minutes later, I was sitting on Hudson's bed. "Son, I just want to say sorry to you for something. Do you remember me yelling at that man on the way to the cinema?" Immediately, he nodded. "I shouldn't have done that. Mum was right. Christians are supposed to be patient and kind. I set you a bad example. That's not how I want you to grow up and treat people. I'm sorry." Right away, he put his arms around my neck and squeezed me tight. "That's okay, Dad.”

A minute later, I was in the room next door, making the same speech to Danny, and the same thing happened. He immediately knew exactly what I was talking about. He hadn't forgotten either. He listened to my apology and didn't think it was crazy. He hugged me and told me it was okay. It's a silly, mundane story, and that's the whole point. We are changed--conformed into the likeness of Christ--through a thousand small choices like these.


Pete Greig, How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People, Navpress, 2019), pp. 176-177

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