Correcting and forgiving a child who does the same wrong thing day after day, shows no remorse, and has no desire to change has been one of the hardest roads I’ve walked as a mom thus far. When dealing with the misbehavior of a young child, I’ll hear myself saying things like,
I forgive you, but you need to start obeying. This has to stop.
I forgive you, but I’m not sure I can believe you’re sorry because you keep doing the same wrong things.
I forgive you, but…
Often in the moment, as I fume over having to work with a child for the seventh time that day, the Spirit lovingly reminds, “This child is no different than you. She needs your forgiveness like you need mine. Please don’t withhold it from her. Give grace.”
I know it’s true, but I continuously struggle with holding love, forgiveness, and grace close instead of offering it if I believe a person to be undeserving or unrepentant. But are any of us deserving of grace? I guess that’s the point.
We’re tempted to ration pardons, as if we could run out of grace by granting too much to the same person. I say I forgive, I want to forgive, but sometimes it’s a huge struggle getting my heart to agree.
No matter how we feel, or how fed up we are with the wrongdoings of our children, we must forgive them. But why?
1. For them. We’re crazy about our kids, aren’t we? And I know that if we’re here reading this far into a post about forgiving our kids, that we mean to do right by them. Our children need to see what true and genuine faith in Christ looks like. A faith where forgiveness follows sin. We give our kids the gift of hope when we show them the way to begin again and again.
2. For us. Our hearts are set free when we forgive. I’m reminded of Psalm 119:32 which says, “I will walk in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” We are commanded to forgive (Colossians 3:13-14), and when we do so, we will suffer, but the burden of unforgiveness is lifted and we walk free. Tim Keller nails it by saying,
“In all cases when wrong is done there is a debt, and there is no way to deal with it without suffering: either you make the perpetrator suffer for it or you forgive and suffer for it yourself.” — Serving Each Other Through Forgiveness and Reconciliation
3. Because of Him. There it is. The most important reason to forgive our children (and the adults in our lives as well) is because of the eternal grace and pardon we’ve received. We are a people of grace. We give, because we have received. There is no limit to the amount we can receive and therefore give away. May we never forget; commemorating this truth by passing on the limitless grace given to us.
Because of Christ I choose to forgive.