(I started this post over a month ago and haven’t quite figured out how to finish it. I’ll try again today…)
Our Father, Who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory
forever and ever.
My boys know that verse by heart. I started teaching them last summer and they memorized it rather quickly. Right now, they are working on the 23rd Psalm. It’s a little longer and a little tougher. They’ll get there. When they memorized this prayer for me (and ultimately for themselves), I managed to teach them a few things. The first thing I did was teach them what “trespass” meant. Basically, in their minds, the definition of trespass is now “mistake.” In other words, “forgive me my mistakes and I’ll forgive the mistakes of others against me.”
What does it mean to be forgiven your mistakes?
To the little minds of my children, to forgive means it didn’t happen. They so easily switch from being angry about an offense to being best friends and brothers again. Caiden could knock his brother down and cause untold pain; however, 5 minutes later, they are back to playing together as if nothing happened. Typically, my response when they have a fight like this is, “Go make it right.” I don’t tell them to forgive, I don’t tell them to ask for forgiveness. I tell them to “make it right.” They have to try and take the pain away. They have to try and make the brother feel better. They have to “make it right.”
In their mind, the forgiveness comes when they are able to “make it right” and go back to playing. It is so easy – to a child. To the rest of us, it’s a little harder. Our memories last a little longer and we’re inclined to hold a grudge or refuse to forget, even if we do say that we’ve forgiven.
I started writing this while waiting for a friend I had coffee with today. When I told her what I was writing about, her very first response was, “Easy to say. Hard to live.” Isn’t that the truth? It is so easy for adults to say, “That’s ok. No Problem.” However, they don’t always forget and move on, even if they did say that.
How does one forgive when it is easier to simply ignore the situation and move on?
This one is harder. I’ve not seen a time when one of my boys couldn’t forgive the other and move on. Occasionally, they have some serious fights. In time, things settle down and life goes back to normal again.
Matthew 5:22-24But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
If we have anything against a brother, we have to “make it right” before we can do anything by way of repairing our relationship with God. This is what I’m stuck on. I can’t “make it right” with everyone I’ve hurt and I’m not willing to let go of what others have done to hurt me. I’m stuck on this and need to find a way to get past it. That’s the reason for the start of this topic a month ago.
A friend told me, instead of trying to forgive and forget, ask God for help to be able to try to forgive and forget. Start simple. Say, “Help me be *ready* to try and forgive and forget.” That’s a thought…
There is a song – a rock song, of course – that applies to this topic. It’s “For You” by Staind.
I’ll post the lyrics for you, because they do apply to the conversation:
To my mother, to my father
It’s your son or
It’s your daughter
Are my screams loud enough for
You to hear me, should I turn this up for you
I sit here locked inside my head
Remembering everything you said
The silence gets us nowhere
Gets us nowhere way too fast
The silence is what kills me
I need someone here to help me
But you don’t know
How to listen
And let me make
All your insults and your curses
Make me feel like I’m not a person
And I feel like I am nothing
But you made me so
‘Cause I’m ****ed up
Because you all need attention
Attention you couldn’t give
If you read it, as I have, it talks about how words are remembered. Things said aren’t so easily forgotten. So, when we have to forgive someone what they have said to us – it really is very hard! If you click the link above and watch the video, you’ll definitely get an idea by the way the parents react during the video. Yes, it’s a harder song than you’re used to me sharing – a rock song. It is too powerful to ignore the intent behind the song, so I suggest listening and watching it – at least – one time.
Forgiveness is hard. Saying it is easy, doing it and putting it into practice is terribly difficult. I find myself stuck in the rut of actually practicing forgiveness very difficult. As a mother, I have to forgive my children all the time. As children, they easily forgive and forget. While they grow, they will retain more and more of what is said and done. For now, they are so innocent. We should act like them and forgive/forget at the drop of a hat.
Yeah, well, I’m still trying.