Repeat To do, make, or perform again.

When my kids were younger, I wasn’t the most patient parent when it came to helping them with their homework.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely was there for them when they felt overwhelmed with an assignment or needed a little extra help understanding the teacher’s instructions.

I’d listen while they explained where they were stuck.  I’d then give them clear directions on how to tackle it.  When they’d seem to understand, I’d go back to whatever I was doing.

Sometimes, it just wouldn’t sink in and soon I’d hear, “Mommmmm.”  I’d be called over for a second round. I would then repeat again what I’d just explained to them a minute ago.

I’ll have to admit, after a couple of these interactions, if they continued to sit there in a slump, shrugging their shoulders in confusion, I’d begin to get irritated.  Especially if I felt they were distracted and not really listening.  I’d sigh and let them know, with that certain look, that I’d about hit my limit.  By that point, my kids would’ve rather failed the assignment than to have to deal with my attitude.  Pretty sad, huh?

Have you ever noticed yourself doing this sort of thing with certain people?

When someone you care about gets stuck in life and they come to you for help?  Or maybe they’ve made a mistake and perhaps even hurt you somehow. Of course you forgive them.  Everyone makes mistakes.  In fact, you’re happy they came to you to reconcile the issue.

But soon it happens, again. They come to you and again you forgive.  You begin thinking to yourself, This is twice now, okay?  Let’s get it together this time…

Heaven forbid, we have a repeat offender on our hands.  What do we do when this person continues to make the same choice, three, four, five or more times?  What then?  What do we do when they repeatedly  push our forgiveness button till it’s worn out?  Seriously???

We all know people like this.  The ones who seem to take a little longer to get it.  The ones who try our patience to the limit.  The ones that we just can’t understand why they would repeat that choice…again!  After all, from where we stand, we can see it’s so simple!  Right?!

This is where grace comes in.  I think if we stopped for a moment and took an honest look inside ourselves, we’d find areas – in our own lives – where we are the repeat offender.  Some obvious to others and some hidden, known only to us – there are places that we continue tripping over and over again.

We repeatedly struggle with the same old issues – no matter how many times someone repeatedly tells us the correct way to solve our problem. It’s so easy,they say.  Why can’t you get it?

Why does it seem so easy to solve other people’s problems while we hide, battle or ignore our own?

For any of us, that aha moment has never come by repetitive scoldings or lectures, (not even by the internally harsh ones we give ourselves.)  No.

The answer that will penetrate our hearts and create authentic change comes, not from a screaming dissertation of disappointment in our ear, but from a quiet whisper that gently touches our soul.

It comes wrapped in love, not hate or frustration.  From outside ourselves, yet within us, the revelation that finally illuminates, if we truly want it, can be revealed.  We only must first repeatedly quiet ourselves enough to look and listen for it.

Regarding others, we need to use tender care with how we respond to them.

Certainly, if they’re hurting themselves with addiction, or abusing us or someone else, we do need to take a stand.  There isn’t a one-size-fits-all response for these type of circumstances, but I think in these cases love looks like not enabling their destructive repeat behaviors.

In any case, perhaps instead of repeating lectures, next time we can try to extend love.  By remembering our own shortcomings, we can repeatedly drop the stone to extend just a little more kindness.

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Matthew 7:3 

“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John 8:7