Learning Forgiveness

Forgiving; I don’t hold grudges against my friends.

Colossians 3:13b, “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

Forgiveness is one of my favorite traits we teach here at Heritage Preschools.  I believe it to be one of the core character traits of the Christian life, and one of the traits that will be tested and used the most.  We need God’s forgiveness and help daily, and we also need to be able to forgive and go forward with those who harm us.  Forgiveness has the power to set people free; both the one who is forgiven and the one who is forgiving.

It seems that we go to great lengths to teach our children not to do harm to others, but not as much when it comes to forgiving those who harm them.  We explain to them why we do not hit, push, snatch, take without asking, or say mean words to people, but when those things happen to them, we quickly tell them to say, “It’s ok.”  I do not think this is wrong, but I do believe there is more we can do.  I say this because if my parents still stepped in and said everything was ok now that I’m an adult, I would interrupt them and say, “No, it’s not.  I’m hurt and I need them to know why.”  Sometimes, I forgive because I know I need to, but it takes me a while to deal with the offense in my mind and move past it.  This is all normal, but I was not taught this until much later in life.

As I said earlier, forgiveness is so powerful because it brings freedom to the giver and recipient.  Anytime you are handed something powerful, like a power tool, for example, the person tells you to be careful how you use it.  We should also be careful when we explain forgiveness to our children. 

Forgiving someone does not take away the pain the person caused, but it will set you free to begin healing. 

Forgiveness does not make the relationship great again, but it does lay the ground work for rebuilding trust. 

Forgiveness does not mean everything goes back to the way it was before the offense, but leads to a new and better normal.

Challenge:  Forgiveness is a powerful, meaningful character trait in the life of a Christian.  As a parent, you are tasked with explaining and modeling godly forgiveness to your child.  I want to challenge you to go above and beyond with forgiveness.  What are some ways you could take your teaching to a higher level?  Maybe it means taking longer to discipline your child because you explain to them the pain they caused, and how you love them anyway and always will.  Maybe it means talking to them about the hurt they feel when a friend hurts them.  Help them forgive and process their forgiveness.  They may be tiny and young, but their hearts are a book that they are filling with all the knowledge and truth you can give them.  Be courageous in your parenting, and prepare them for true, godly forgiveness.