Breathing In and Breathing Out: Forgiveness
One of the most important topics in my life is forgiveness.
Forgiveness of myself … because I fail a lot.
Forgiveness of others, because … well … nobody is perfect.
Forgiveness offered by God to all of us … because we need it.
I believe forgiveness is the Father’s heart. He created us knowing that there would be a lot of forgiveness He’d need to offer. In fact, He knew He’d have to do it all to get us to a point of true repentance and forgiveness.
I’m continually amazed by the amount of forgiveness I require. I feel like I’m constantly struggling to make good decisions, to flee temptations, and not react poorly to challenges. I just wish I thought more about asking for forgiveness and moving forward, rather than my tendency to just continually beat myself up about things.
In the past several years I’ve learned very valuable lessons about offering forgiveness. It’s been a difficult process to put it mildly. I’ve struggled because in dealing with the person who has most grievously offended me, I must continually seek a forgiving heart even in the face of unrepentance and continued hurtful behavior.
I’ve learned that forgiveness offers me freedom … freedom from anger and bitterness … freedom from a past hurt controlling my present life.
I’ve learned that forgiveness doesn’t mean that I forget, it means that I move forward with grace … grace for my offender and grace for myself when I struggle with anger rearing its head again and again and again.
As a parent I want to teach my children to accept forgiveness and offer forgiveness. Lately I’ve realized that I haven’t been teaching my children to offer forgiveness to one another as much as I want to. We just seem to deal with things on a surface level. Part of that is my parenting in triage mode…let’s get this done so we can move on to the next issue waiting for my attention.
The other night one of my little girls was simply a bear at bedtime. She was growling and clawing and fussing … oh the defiance! I feel like I dealt with it relatively well but I realized I didn’t share with her the process of repentance and forgiveness. It’s a beautiful process. And I want my children to know it to their core.
This is what I want to teach and model to my children:
Forgiveness is God’s design. It’s a gracious way He shows His profound love for us.
Forgiveness is ours when we ask. God promises to forgive us when we repent.
Repentance asked for and forgiveness offered are not easy, but they will bless us and free us to live our lives well.
Forgiveness is our gift from God, a blessed gift we can offer one another, and an honor to model to our children.
Gracious and Heavenly Father, thank you that you forgive us so much. May we daily model forgiveness and grace to our children. Please help us to raise them to honor You and love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.