Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

What has God forgiven you of, friend? If you are like me, you would rather not answer that question. I’d prefer to answer with “everything” or “more than I deserve.” Both answers are true, but they avoid the reality of facing what my punishment should be. I don’t deserve forgiveness, but God gives it freely. He wants right relationship and connection with me, and He’ll give me every chance to have that with Him.

Do I do that with my children? Do I freely forgive them knowing they will fail me again and again?

When one child comes to me with a grievance against the other, much of the story is often left out. As fallen people, we don’t want to own our part in disagreements or chasms in relationships. We want it to be the other person’s fault. When my son tells me his brother broke his toy and forgets to tell me it broke while he was hitting his brother with it, it’s hard for me to forgive him. Knowing he was being deceitful and also physically hurting his brother is extremely frustrating. He was the one in the wrong and was trying to get his brother in trouble. There must be consequences to teach my little one and part of his discipline must be making things right with his brother. Also, for him to continue trusting me enough to come to me when things go wrong (even, and especially, when he is in the wrong), I need to forgive him. It’s good for me to set him free to experience natural consequences and good for him to have the example of Christ through me.

I must give him every chance to make amends and be in right relationship with me. I must also ask for forgiveness when I am in the wrong.

When I get weary of forgiving one of my children for doing the same thing over and over again, I simply need to remember how many times God has forgiven me. How many times has He forgiven me for thinking negative thoughts about someone, cursing when I stub my toe, and all the things I mentioned I’d rather not think about… even the fact that I don’t want to think about it? He has forgiven my many sins, so I must love and forgive much.

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. “ Luke 7:47

None of us have been forgiven little, friends. We have all been forgiven much and must show great love and forgiveness in return.

Is there something you need to forgive your child for saying or doing in order for you to be in right relationship with him or her? Is there something you need to ask forgiveness for?