I don’t know about you, but I always have a lecture ready for my kids. I’m grown up. I have forty years of experience, and I need to push it on my girls every chance I get. I have pre-written lectures stored in my mind on every subject you can imagine. Here is a quick list of just a few in my head.
“How you should treat your sisters”
“How you should treat your parents”
“Your attitude when you are asked to do something”
“What time you are supposed to go to bed”
“Who you are allowed to stay the night with”
“How long it should take you to obey me”
I could go on, but you get the point. Parents have lots of lectures we keep stored in our heads, and we can’t wait to impart our knowledge at the first opportunity. The struggle I face, and I would guess many of you face, is when is the best time to really let my kids “have it”. I’m still trying to figure this one out, but I want to share with everyone one time when I know for a fact it is the wrong time to lecture our kids.
How much do you enjoy apologizing to someone? How much do you enjoy apologizing to your boss, your spouse or anyone else? My guess is that your answer is something along the lines of, “Not very much” or even, “I hate it!”
Our kids are no different than any adult when it comes to pulling together the bravery it takes to apologize. It takes every ounce of will power they have. As bad as many of us are at apologizing I believe we are just as bad at forgiving as well. Here is a typical apology and forgiveness conversation:
Wife: “Honey, I’m really sorry that I ignored you when you were trying to talk to me.”
Husband: “I forgive you. I just wish you would pay better attention to me when I’m trying to talk to you. You get distracted way too easily when we are talking. It makes me feel like I’m not very important to you.”
Forgiveness that is followed by a long re-hashing of the issue isn’t really forgiveness. It’s really just the forgiver taking a little bit of revenge on the forgiven. I would argue that forgiveness isn’t even really in the heart of the husband in our little example.
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Real forgiveness is instantaneous. It carries with it no lectures. No message of right and wrong. It acknowledges the humility that comes with a broken heart.
Real forgiveness experiences the humility of the one asking for forgiveness.
Real forgiveness just forgives.