This past Sunday we talked about forgiveness. Here are some main points:
What forgiveness IS:
-Letting go of the feelings of anger and hatred that we drag around with us (sometimes we call this “carrying a grudge”)
-Starting over in a relationship, so that something new can grow and take place
-Leaving judgment to God, and remembering that we, too, have our faults and God shows us mercy
What forgiveness IS NOT:
-Condoning someone’s actions (to forgive is not to pretend that it didn’t hurt, or doesn’t still hurt)
-Forgetting (even when we forgive, we learn lessons from our past experiences, and sometimes it takes us a long time to heal from past grievances)
With your friends or family, talk about a time when you were forgiven for something you did wrong. What happened in the relationship next? Or, talk about a time when you forgave someone, even though it was difficult. How did that feel?
Forgiveness is not magic. It does not always heal relationships where hurt or betrayal has happened. But it can give both people (or just one, if both aren’t willing) a clean slate and an unburdened heart with which to move on.
Remind children and youth that when someone apologizes, they should say, “I accept your apology” or “It’s forgiven” instead of “it’s ok.” Help them to see that just because we forgive, it doesn’t mean we let people keep hurting us over and over. It’s acceptable to say, “I forgive you for what you did, but I don’t let people treat me that way. If you keep treating me that way we will not play together.”
Who do you need to forgive? What is keeping you from doing so?