Big I, little iFeatured — By Susie Finkbeiner on August 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm
My four year old son got hurt this week. The poor guy fell on a rock. He bled. He cried. But it didn’t bleed that much. And he didn’t cry that hard.
So, I waited.
Didn’t take him right in.
My husband (who has suffered many gaping wounds of his own) decided that my son did need to get checked out.
And I was riddled with guilt.
“Good moms feel guilty about this kind of stuff,” my big sister told me over the phone. “If you didn’t care, that would make you a bad mom.”
Yeah. That’s true. I needed to hear that.
I’m a good mom.
But then, almost immediately after hanging up the phone, I suffered a “Big I, little i” moment.
When I was a kid, one of the Bible teachers at my Christian school taught us “The Parable of the Big I and the little i”.
Two men walk into the Temple. The good man stands in the open area with his arms spread wide. His chest puffed out.
“Thank You, God,” he yells. Looks around to make sure everyone is watching. Listening. Observing his pious prayer. “Thank You that I am not a bad man. That I am good. I give to the poor. I go to church. I live a life of uprightness. Not like that sinner.”
He looks at the other man. A worm of a man. A tax collector.
The Big I looks down his nose at the little i.
The other day, I witnessed a crime. A mother punching her son as he sat, buckled into the car. I called 9-1-1. Full of righteous anger toward her violence. Desired justice.
And as I hung up the phone today, reminded that I’m a good mother, I became the Big I. Thanking God for making me such a good mom. Looking over down my nose at that mom. Thankful that at least I didn’t beat my child.
And she became the little i.
The other man in the temple hunched over. Silently prayed for mercy. Felt terrible and regretted his sinful life.
He was the little i.
Who was justified by their prayer?
Jesus said that the sinner. The humble man. He was justified before God that day.
I don’t know if that other mom cries into her hands, begging for mercy from God. That’s not my business. And it’s also not my job to force her to regret what she’s done. Or to rub in her face that I am a good mom and that she isn’t because I don’t punch my children.
Except for those five minutes when our lives met, I don’t know her. I haven’t glimpsed into the pain she suffers. The battles she fights.
I desired justice. For her child. For every child who has ever been abused.
That is a righteous and good desire.
But I forgot something else.
So, I sit here at my computer.
My head drooped.
Begging God to have mercy on me.
And to take this Big I.
And transform me into a little i.