Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Spiritual Series: Part III


The boys are getting older.  In the past month or so, they really play together.  They run around together, play hide and seek, chase, and wrestle.  I love it.  As a consequence of more together time, they also fight more.  They hurt each other physically more.  They need to forgive each other more.

I have a really concrete Forgiveness Plan in this house and it's usually when they make me angry.  It goes like this:

Child:  I'm really sorry, Mommy!
(and somethimes:  I said I'm really sorry, Mommy!)

Me:  I forgive you.

And I force myself to forgive them.  Even when I'm still mad.  Because that's what real forgiveness is.  It's not just words.  And it's hard.  Really hard sometimes.  Matty, the sensitive one, isn't usually okay with just an "I forgive you."  There are frequently requests for smiles to affirm my forgiveness..."Please, Mommy, just smile at me!"...and almost always followed up with hugs and kisses.

This has been an interesting exercise for me.  It's really hard to just stop being mad.  But they have challenged me to dig deep and discover what it really feels like to forgive.  I'm grateful for that.

In the past month, I have also needed forgiveness from a friend.  In converations about something really important to both of us, we both let our emotions get in the way.  We said hurtful things to each other.  And, at the end, when it exploded, we talked it out.  And we forgave each other.  Because it's the right thing to do. Life is too short to make enemies.  To harbor ill will.  Even when we hurt each other and when we're hurt. 

We can't say we believe in forgiveness if we don't practice it, right?

There's a really good book called Amish Grace.  It's about the Amish that forgave the shooter who came into their schoolhouse and shot those children some years ago.  The book affected me deeply.  They were able to forgive a man who killed their children.  I think they're right.  I think we need to forgive even when it's hard.  I pray to God that I never get the opportunity to test how forgiving I really am.  And I pray that if I do, I pass the test!


Scandy said...

Excellent post, friend.

Popular topic...I've been struggling quite a bit lately because I tend to know when I'm about to do something I might need forgiveness for...know what I mean? The struggle between doing something and not feeling responsible for the reactions or emotions of others and avoiding such altercations altogether.

Is it obvious I've been spending time with family? :)

Thanks for bringing this topic to the fore and bringing your experience to the table.


penney said...

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for reminding me of how important this is! I've too been struggling with completely forgiving, as it has been a very difficult time with Joey lately. I'm reminded daily that God forgives us on a daily basis.

MindiJo said...

True, my dear friend. Your parents taught you well. And I'm sure you will do the same for your children.

MindiJo said...

Oooh, we had a moment here tonight. A naughty little one who learned a little lesson. But also learned how nice it is to have someone forgive you, too.

elizabeth said...

This is a good post. And a good reminder. I think that's all I'll say. Yes. Good reminder.

Julie said...

What a great topic.

I can't imagine a better example than Jesus as he was dying, "Forgive them, Father..."

I think it's so important for people to be able to both apologize and grant forgiveness. Both are love.

Leanne said...

I loved all the responses to this post. Thank you for sharing. :)