Teaching Kids Forgiveness

teaching kids forgivenessTeaching Kids Forgiveness

Episode 231 

 

In teaching kids forgiveness you are giving your children the tools or fundamentals of forgiveness but arguably one of the best gifts you can ever give them.

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Here are the podcasts I did on the topic of forgiveness on our sister network, The Ultimate Christian Podcast Network, Forgiveness Podcast #10 and Asking Forgiveness  Podcast #11

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Show Notes: Teaching Kids Forgiveness:

Do you teach your children to say, “I’m sorry – or will you forgive me” when they have hurt someone? I know if you are a mom or dad you most certainly have and I’m sure more than once! In life, people hurt you and even in the Bible Jesus tells us to forgive each day, 77 times!

But how do you explain this to your children? Today I’m going to explain how as well as give you some practical applications. Teaching kids forgiveness is not only possible it is amazingly practical and will make your life so much easier. Can you imagine? Kids that truly forgive?

Forgiveness, when it happens in the way that God designed, it is truly beautiful. You can teach your children that God forgave us our sins and so, gave us the perfect example of forgiving. You can also teach your children the Lord’s prayer, when we recite, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Here we are praying to the Lord to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others who have hurt us.

But, did you know there is a difference between forgiveness as a feeling and as a decision?

Teaching your children about forgiveness is really a two-fold situation. It is teaching your child to look for at forgiveness as a give and take. It is not one-sided. So, what do I mean by this? First, there is the person who has been hurt. We always say arguments take two people, at least right? There is a he-said, she-said. But either way, someone is hurt either physically or psychologically. Second, there is a consequence to our actions. We must be held accountable to what we do. If a child hurts someone physically or using words, the consequences tend to be different. Usually parents, and I know I did, give a harsher punishment to a child that hurts another. It is thought that using words is not as bad, however, words sometimes have the lasting effect.

But there is good news when teaching kids forgiveness! You are teaching your children that they don’t have to hold grudges forever, they can be set free and so can their siblings, friends or even you the parents.

 

In sharing with your children about forgiveness I have developed three points I discuss with my children…

  1. Forgiveness is making a decision to forgive even if we don’t feel like it. Forgiveness is not a feeling in that “I feel like forgiving you.” No, forgiveness is an act of will.
  2. We forgive out of obedience to God – when He says we must forgive 70 x 7 per day. Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!”

  1. Un-forgiveness is holding an anger or a grudge against a person and it hurts us more than them. If you have teens explain to this to them – you can’t hold anyone else accountable except yourself. People who don’t forgive are often bitter and harsh. Forgiving releases, the person to the Lord, to deal with them. It is not our job to punish others for what they have done to you.

You can’t punish a person who doesn’t care. Often if someone has hurt you it is because of a lack of relationship. You don’t –or you try not to hurt those you love. Often siblings fight and most of this comes from selfishness on the part of one or both. It isn’t necessarily malicious. However, the hurts that stay with us are often unfair and malicious. They are caused by those who really don’t care about us, or if they do they care in a superficial way.

Deciding to forgive releases you to go on with your life. You are not depressed or upset any longer – or if you are, continue to hand that person over to the Lord.

So how do you forgive?

The first step to reconciliation with another person is making the decision to forgive. The next step is asking for forgiveness.

Do your kids say, “I’m sorry.” First, it puts all the control into the person saying it. Secondly, often you will know by their tone of voice you know that they really are not that sorry? It is normally a formality. We make our kids say they are sorry for hurting another because they should! But, if it is insincere we are wasting their time and ours. It also teaches your child to be flippant about saying they are sorry without realizing the consequences.

That is why I taught my children to say, “Will you forgive me?” In that way the request is not in the hands of the offending child, but in the hands of the person who is hurt. That person must agree to forgive and release the other from the sin, and recognize they, while hurt – have made a decision to forgive. In this case both children can work toward healing of their relationship. Both are on the forgiving end. The one asking for forgivenes and the one giving it. Isn’t that beautiful! It shows God’s healing love.

Teach your children to ask the Lord to help them if they are still bitter from the hurt. Ask your children to pray for the “offending” person every day. Why? Because of Luke 6: 35-36 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

That takes prayer and eventually if you can teach your child to do this, they will grow up to be wonderful adults! Praying for your enemies works! The evil one does not want us to have peace in our lives. The evil one wants us upset and frustrated. When we are upset and frustrated can we move on with our lives – serve and do good for the Lord? No. We are held in bondage in one place.

Scriptures on forgiveness:

Colossians: 3:13

Matthew: 6:14-15

What are your favorite forgiveness scriptures? Make a list of these and pray them when you have difficulty forgiving.

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