I must start out by asking you to forgive me! It has been a month since I wrote a blog and I am sincerely sorry! This week's devotions are on forgiving others and forgiving ourselves, so it is appropriate that I begin by asking for your forgiveness:) Matthew 6:14-15 says "If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
We've all had practice forgiving people. We've wrestled with what others have done to us. We turn the situation over and over in our head trying to figure out how someone could do such a horrible thing. The hurt makes us clench our jaw (yes, I do that), cry out to God in anger, and drive us to our knees in prayer. Eventually, we realize we can't hold on to the hurt any longer and give it over to the God who can heal us deep inside.
What about when we have hurt someone? The angst and pain is still there, just in a different way. We beat ourselves up over and over, again, replaying the whole scenario over and over in our mind wondering how God (or the one we harmed) could possibly forgive us. God says when we ask for forgiveness, we are made clean - He remembers our wrongs no more (Jeremiah 31:34). Thank you Jesus!
So the question becomes, how do we help our children learn to forgive others or themselves?
- Forgiveness is at the core of who we are as Christians. Ask your child if they are ready to lay "IT" at the feet of Jesus and release it. It's not an easy thing to do, but the choice to hang on to it will eventually make them bitter and hard.
- Pray with your teen to release the hurt or guilt.
- Post Scripture on forgiveness on the bathroom mirror, the fridge or computer screen as a constant reminder of God's forgiveness. (Matthew 6:14-15; Jeremiah 31:34; Matthew 18:22; Psalm 38:4; Isaiah 43:25)
- Remind your teen that each time we offer ourselves or others forgiveness, we have a chance to learn from the mistakes we've made. It is one more chance to see God's love for us, and for us to show God's love to others.
- Be an example of compassion and grace to your family.
Prayer... Thank you Father for the forgiveness you so graciously pour out on us. Teach us how to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Amen.