"If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins--make a clean breast of them--he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing." 1 John 1:8-9 (MSG)
For the next few weeks, we will spend some time highlighting important values that when understood and practiced can make a positive impact for you and your family! As the title of this post states, the first value will look at is forgiveness. Forgiveness is always easy to receive, but much more difficult to extend. Extending forgiveness involves humility and courage. By extending forgiveness, we are making a statement that we are letting go of the anger and offenses and no longer "hitting back". Extending forgiveness is such an important topic to discuss and can also affect our children in many ways.
Here are some quick findings from the Mayo Clinic regarding the importance of forgiveness.
- Holding a grudge evidently affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
- One study finds that holding grudges elevates blood pressure and heart rates, increased muscle tension, and felt less in control of their lives.
- On the other hand, when asked to imagine forgiving the person, the health issues noticeably lessened!
Forgiveness is healthy. Forgiveness is crucial to understanding God. If we dont understand this core characteristic of God, then it will be difficult for you to see yourself as He sees you (i.e. children, apple of His eye, masterpeice, royalty) and even more difficult to extend the gift of forgiveness to others.
What are your obstacles to forgiveness? Are their old wounds from your past still bleeding out? Have we made room in our hearts for bitterness, anger, and offense towards others, even our family? Here is the point: we can also become an obstacle for our children in extending forgiveness. You can't really force or bribe someone to forgive. The best way to live out a value is to first see it modeled...by you!
Few tips to instill forgiveness in your children:
- Start with the basics. Teach your kids about God's forgiveness of them and what that looks like.
- Model the forgiveness in your own life. Dont talk badly about others, especially in the presence of your kids!
- Model humility. Say you're sorry. It's simple. Tell your spouse you messed up in front of your children. Let your kids know you need forgiveness too.
- Infuse "I love you" statements with the consequences.
- Teach them that forgiveness does not depend on the actions of others.