A broken record may accurately describe parents in the process of training kids, especially in the area of manners. “Say, ‘Thank you.’” “Say, ‘Please.’” “Show kindness.” “Be gracious.” “Give forgiveness.” For The Meadows, this is the most challenging inside our home. It appears that it’s easier to be considerate of those outside our home, but more of a challenge inside the walls of our own house. We have a routine that when one of the kids wrongs the other, they must apologize, and the offended must forgive. Confessing, “I’m sorry,” and hearing, “It’s alright,” is not considered a resolution here at the homestead. Many long talks have been birthed from an offense. Explanations are given. Insight is provided. In the end, the goal is to express, “I’m sorry for…..,” and a heartfelt, “I forgive you,” in response.
It’s a difficult concept to teach forgiveness; mostly because our nature is to hold on to offenses. Why? Because we are human, and we were born sinners, meaning we were born selfish. Holding onto an offense in a way, provides the justice we believe should be given. In the end, it hurts us far more than the person who caused the offense in the first place. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For 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.
The point is; justice is not ours to provide. We don’t have to pick up the phone informing others of the wrongdoing. We don’t have to rally supporters to validate our offense. We don’t have to give a cold shoulder or a bitter spirit. Romans 12 gives us instruction in handling these situations that are all so common to man.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We forgive because we have been forgiven for far greater things than could ever be done to us. We forgive so we know we did all that was possible for us to do. We forgive knowing that justice is the Lord’s to provide; He will vindicate; not us. We forgive to pursue and protect a pure heart, to guard against bitterness, to not be overcome by evil.
When confronted with an offense, whether it’s at work, in the marriage, in the family, whether it’s petty or significant, whether resolution is attained or unfortunate deterioration; forgive. Our forgiveness isn’t dependent on the outcome; it’s dependent on our obedience. God is in control; we don’t have to be. Let Him fight the battles. As far as it depends on us, live at peace, show love, be forgiving.
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