Just the other day, our 5 and 3 year old boys had been playing happily for a while…. until they had a disagreement. I’ll spare you the details of what led to that lol, but the summary is that my 5yr old got mad at my 3yr old, and made it very clear to him.
And then it happened. My 3yr old hit my 5yr old – smack! Right on the head. I rushed to the scene, and my 5 year old was naturally very upset. Sorry big guy, I said to him. Are you ok? Pele! After calming him down and making sure he was ok, I grabbed my 3yr old by the hand, walking quickly down the hallway, very annoyed.
We got to the end of the hallway and the interrogation began lol. Why did you hit your brother on the head? I demanded. “Because he was mad at me!” came his answer. I certainly wasn’t expecting that answer. What? You hit him on the head because he was mad at you? oh boy… lol. You can’t bully your brother into not being mad at you, I gently explained to him. When someone gets mad at you, you should ask them why they’re not happy with you if you don’t know – then tell them you’re sorry if you need to. You can’t force a person into “not being mad at you”. Ok? “Ok Mummy”, he said, with his best “I’m sorry I did that” look .
I told him to face the wall for a few minutes, and to think some more about what he had done. By the way, in case you’re not familiar with the concept of “facing the wall” – it is probably the African version of a time out lol – You pretty much ask your child to stand (or sit) facing a wall, and they can’t look at anything except a blank wall for a few minutes. They absolutely hate it . And it works – they are usually very repentant at the end of it lol! So anyway, after my little guy’s time out was done, he yelled “I won’t do that again!” – And I asked him to go apologize to his brother.
“I’m sorry “… He said to his big brother. Just to give you a little background – Typically, when the kids apologize to each other, the response from the offended party when all becomes well and good is “That’s ok”. But this time, instead of hearing my 5yr old just say “that’s ok”, I heard him say – “That’s ok, I forgive you”!
My 3yr old and I were sooo happy lol.
That’s great that you forgave your brother – I said to my 5yr old. I’m so proud of you both! You know what my 5yr old’s reply was? “Mummy, only a bad guy wouldn’t forgive…!” And there are no bad guys in this house, we all agreed. My goodness – I was so touched ! I was over the moon with excitement – the kids were beginning to really grasp the concept of forgiveness and how important it is to forgive. I know we all still have a lot to learn about many things, but I am thrilled that we are all on the right path, by God’s grace !
Later on, I started thinking some more about what he had said. It really boils down to that, doesn’t it? We’ve heard a variation of this before and we will probably hear it again. But it’s so true – If we want to be true followers of Christ, obeying our Father, imitating Him in all that we do, we will forgive others, we won’t hold a grudge (so help us God), and we will seek to be at peace with everyone we are connected with. We will always do all we can to seek, pursue, and maintain peace. Don’t get me wrong, just as I am learning, forgiveness doesn’t mean you should not have healthy boundaries (and that’s a topic for a different post). By all means, we should have healthy boundaries in our relationships – it’s just the wise thing to do.
However, we can’t on the one hand be going to church, praising God and saying we are followers of God, when on the other hand we are holding a grudge against others and not extending the hand of forgiveness to them. So like what these scriptures say, right? —
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (NIV)
Luke 6:36, 37c “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (NIV)
3 John 1:11 “Dear friend… Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.” (NLT)
“Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” (NLT)
Romans 12:18 “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (NLT)
May we always remember to run very far away from evil – which certainly includes harboring unforgiveness. May we instead always run after good, to “seek peace and pursue it”, and to “do all we can to live in peace with everyone” (including and most importantly, our heavenly father!). May we always remember that “only a bad guy would not forgive” , and there are no bad guys in this house, correct? ?
May we always remember the reason for this immeasurable and indescribable gift from God – Jesus Christ – the reason we celebrate Christmas. May we continually bless others (and ourselves) with the gift of forgiveness and letting go; and simultaneously bless God, our Father, with the gift of obedience, as we continually do what he wants us to do…always by His Grace and His ever present help.
May every area of our lives ever be a sweet and pleasing aroma unto God. Amen!!!
If there is someone you need to forgive, if there is any grudge or hurt you are holding on to, if there is anything you need to let go of, please, please, by God’s grace and strength and help, please…DO IT NOW!! Don’t wait. Just do it. Please! Let’s imitate God. Let’s live lives that please God. Let’s let go of the poison of unforgiveness… Don’t be a bad guy, please, forgive ! If you need help letting go of a terrible hurt, go to God in prayer. Ask God to help you – God will not abandon us and not help us when we need Him the most. But please, start taking those steps towards “seeking peace”. So help us all God – Amen!
***Dec 22 Update: I wanted to include this, it came up during our conversations (below) yesterday. Sometimes after you’ve forgiven a person, something might just bring the hurts back to your memory and it feels like the hurt is starting all over again – you might wonder – have I truly forgiven them? I think that we can (and should) make the choice to forgive and move on, but really – the healing process may sometimes take a little while to be complete. But God is certainly more than able to see us through! In the past, when I remembered stuff that brought pain, I immediately prayed and tried to shift my focus on to God and His word. Tried to think about the big picture. Over time, I found that I stopped getting those feelings when I remembered…I felt healed! God is certainly more than able to see us through – please, be encouraged!***
Do you have any helpful insights on forgiveness and letting go? Scriptures? Experiences? Questions? Comments? Please share so that we can all keep learning from each other. Thank you very much!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!:)! HAPPY NEW YEAR in ADVANCE !!
Wishing you much joy, much peace, and God’s ever sweet presence in 2011 and beyond!
“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” [Amen!!!] (Numbers 6: 24 -26 – NKJV)
Much Love & Blessings to you and yours,