Forgive: to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.). to grant pardon to (a person). to cease to feel resentment against. to cancel an indebtedness or liability of.
Five kids and two faulty parents create many opportunities for forgiveness. Maybe too many! Arguments, short tempers and selfish attitudes all surface almost daily in this house. These things can add up, creating bitterness and resentment if not dealt with in a healthy way.
When my kids were toddlers, teaching forgiveness was simple:
"I forgive you."
But now that they are older, they have better memories. There can be an angry payback for hurt feelings, careless words, or meanness. So forgiveness has to be taught on a deeper level these days. Saying "I'm sorry" is often not enough, especially if the offender is perceived to be less than sincere. Apologies have to be specific, looking the sibling in the eye and apologizing for the offense, naming it and taking responsibility for it while realizing that the other person may need time to process the apology. And the offended? He or she in encouraged to show grace. We have to remind each other that we have been forgiven of much, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. We never have the right to withhold forgiveness. Trust? Now that is different. Often trust has to be earned back. But forgiveness is release. Forgiveness is choosing grace and letting it go.
I think the hardest thing, the most humbling and uncomfortable thing for me is when I have to ask forgiveness of my children. It is definitely a teachable moment and good for them to see and know that I am just like them, a sinner in need of a Savior. But it is so painful to realize I've lost it, I've yelled or used harsh words or been unfair, and then have to look my child in the eye and admit my failure. But always, always, they forgive this floundering mama so easily and completely. What beautiful lessons the Lord teaches my heart through these moments with my children! God continually reminds me of just how He sees me, through the eyes of a Father who is crazy about His kids no matter how much they screw up.
And screw up I do.
Don't you love how it always comes down to Grace?