Why is Teaching Forgiveness Important?
“Will you forgive me?” …words we don’t easily speak, yet they carry so much power for reconciliation and freedom! When is the last time you’ve asked your child for forgiveness when you’ve messed up? Seth reminds us modeling this is the best method of teaching our kids to do just the same.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
God’s truths are seen all over. And I won’t forget the time a camper pointed out a truth about forgiveness. This was a very young camper who I had pulled aside to talk about a scuffle he had with a friend. I was instructing him in his need to seek forgiveness for the hurtful things he had said and done.
He was opposed to the idea until I asked, “How do you feel after you ask for forgiveness?” He recognized that he did feel better after asking for forgiveness.
Why is it important for us to teach our children about forgiveness and how to ask for it?
- Forgiveness is at the core of the gospel. Forgiveness involves a debt or punishment being paid. When it comes to our sin we admit to God our wrong doing and ask Him to forgive our “crime”. When we do this it is based on His love for us shown by Jesus taking our punishment (His death on the cross…enduring separation from the Father). When we seek forgiveness we reinforce the importance of what God has done for us instead of just an apology when wrong is done.
- God does not withhold forgiveness. God will forgive us not because of who we are, what we do or what we don’t do, but because of who He is, “faithful and just” (1 John 1:9). We get the opportunity as parents to display forgiveness by teaching and modeling it as God does. Check out the character traits accompanying forgiveness Paul points out in our key verse, Ephesians 4:32… “kind and compassionate.”
- Forgiveness is an action not a feeling. This is a tough one to remember! Forgiveness is something we must do to continue to point our kids to God. Forgiveness is giving up our “right” to be repaid for wrong done to us. As followers of Christ we give up this “right” because the One we follow set this example for us. Christ did not deserve to be punished for our sins…He gave up His right to!
When we teach our children the importance forgiveness, we are teaching them the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s bravely live this out day to day in our homes.
Apologies are used so often in our culture. What is the difference between an apology and asking for forgiveness? When was the last time you asked someone for forgiveness?