Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Big "F" Word

As I laid in bed one night, recent experiences racing through my head, I decided my next post would be about the big "F" word.  Well, I'm not referring to the four-letter "F" word.  I'm referring to the 11-letter "F" word...Forgiveness. 

This word carries so much weight, strength and obedience.  Along with love, this word says it all about our future.  Without it, we wouldn't have eternity.  Each time I think about how every, awful, ugly, hurtful thing we as humans do is forgiven by Jesus Christ, I am taken to higher thoughts than this earth.  I am continually amazed at how the love that is felt for us and the grace we are given can surpass any sin we commit.  If you haven't ever taken the time to think about that, I mean really think, then I encourage you to do so.  It's overwhelming.  The love we are shown every minute of every day by God, is consistent and freely given.  So is His forgiveness.  How many human beings in our lives can we say that about?  So if we are granted so much pardon, why do we have such a hard time forgiving others?  We are human, but this is not an excuse.  We are still expected to forgive and forget the trespasses of others, no matter how deep the hurt.  When I have trouble doing this, I pray about it, and sometimes I have to pray a lot!  I'm amazed at God's ability to soften my heart, take away hurt and negative feelings, help me to forgive and move on.  I'm a firm believer that we only hurt ourselves when we hold grudges and refuse to forgive.  It's a breeding ground for bitterness and who really wants to live that way?  I'm inspired when hearing about stories where people have been hurt so badly (one was about a loved one lost in a drunk driving accident) and they forgive the person who committed the horrible act.  I have so much respect for people who are forgiving.  I think it says a lot about the character of the person who is willing to forgive and move on. 

Although it's not easy to forgive, we must do this and teach our children to forgive.  I've been thinking about the most effective ways I can teach my children forgiveness and quite frankly, it's not easy to teach either!  But, I believe the best, most effective way to teach it is to show it by example.  Kids are smart, very smart.  They are sitting in our vehicles and they are listening to our phone conversations we have with friends as we are driving down the road.  They are playing in different rooms in our home while listening in on conversations we have with our spouses.  They know more than we think they know.  Our children are watching and listening to our reactions to situations and many times following in our footsteps.  If our children see us forgiving others and not holding grudges, they will learn this is what is expected of them also. 

The older our children get, the more likely they are to be offended or get their feelings hurt.  As parents, we know this happens in various ways and unfortunately, it will happen to them as adults as well.  It's our natural reaction as moms to immediately defend our children.  This is not a bad thing.  But when our children get hurt, it's our job to help them learn to forgive.  And the great thing about kids is, most times, they are much quicker to forgive and forget than adults are!  So why as adults do we waste time holding on to grudges when our children have already forgiven and moved on?  What kind of example are we being?  If our response is to hold a grudge in defense of our children, then instead of forgiving and moving on, our children will hold grudges as well.  This is not healthy for our children either.  The more they are taught to forgive, the more likely they will be able to handle hurt they experience as they get older.  I don't want my children growing up holding on to hurt and anger and feeling bitter.  What a waste of their life that would be.  The longer a grudge is carried, the heavier it gets.  I'm teaching them that it's not always easy to forgive and forget, but it's part of being obedient to God and what we are called to do.     

I believe it's critical to raise our children to be confident in who God has made them to be, building up their self-esteem, supporting their dreams and making them feel so loved that no matter how bad their feelings hurt, they will be able to quickly and easily brush it off.  Our job as moms isn't to protect our children from hurt, we can't keep hurt out of their lives.  But it is our job to teach them how to deal with it.  If we are instilling morals and values in our children, they will know right from wrong and be able to choose right in even the most difficult circumstances, including forgiveness.  We can't control how we are treated or what other people say about us (or our children), but we choose how we let it affect us.

This is always a great reminder for us...For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15

Is there someone you need to forgive?  Please pray about it and ask God to transform your heart.  Life is too short not to be forgiving.

God Bless :)