My 20th high school reunion was a few years ago.
Yes, I know I’m old so you don’t need to mention it.
What comes to your mind when you think of high school? For me, I think of homecoming parades and being captain of our danceline. I am reminded of prank calls and my sweet sixteen surprise party; junior/senior prom and driving up and down the main roads in our small town; fighting with my boyfriend and eating lunch on the sidewalk at school with my friends. High school was an interesting and exciting time.
But I also remember girl drama and jealousies. People who, even twenty years later, can still leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m pretty sure that if I saw those people now, I would behave like a civilized adult, but I wonder if I’ve actually forgiven them for the hatefulness they displayed so many years ago.
Are you with me on any of this? Can you relate? Do you have some of those people in your life? People that you tolerate but maybe you’ve never actually forgiven?
Last night as I was attempting to read a bedtime story to my two younger children, three-year old Vivienne grabbed a different book and started “reading” it. Very loudly. I politely asked her to be quiet so that I could continue reading the story I had chosen, but she wouldn’t obey. After giving her numerous opportunities to stop, I finally sent her to her room for disobeying. (And I may or may not have raised my voice a little.)
A few minutes later, she came out of her room, grabbed my face with her tiny little hands, looked me in the eye, and said:
I love you, Mommy. I forgive you.
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the one who needed forgiveness in that moment.
(But really, how could I not forgive this precious face? Sigh…)
Vivienne’s declaration of forgiveness caught me a little off guard, however, and I began wondering whether I am quick to forgive others in my life.
The Bible tells us in Matthew chapter 6 that if we forgive other people when they sin against us, then the Lord will forgive us. But if we don’t forgive others, then He won’t forgive our sins.
Whoa. That’s a pretty serious statement. But how do we forgive others, especially those who hurt us deeply?
I will be the first to admit that forgiveness can be difficult. And for the record, forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that we continue giving the offender access to us.
But when we choose forgiveness, we take away the power that the offending person has over us.
When we choose forgiveness, we receive healing in the depths of our souls.
When we choose forgiveness, we can be assured that the Lord is pleased and He hears our prayers.
When we choose forgiveness, we set an example to our children of how to live and love like Christ.
Today, I challenge you to become more aware of opportunities for forgiveness in your life. Forgive your husband, your child, your friend, your boss. If anyone in your life needs forgiveness, extend it to them.
And rest assured that you are modeling a Christ-centered attitude while teaching your children to be merciful and full of grace.
For more encouragement, check out my devotional for moms, Mommy Has Crinkles.
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