Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Forgiveness

Our son had just finished his bath and as I was drying him, insisted on wanting to play with a blanket of his. As a result, I took the blanket off him so I could finish the job at hand and said that if he wanted it back, he would have to say "Sorry mummy."

He cried ,"No, I don't want to say sorry mummy!" ... Well, then you can't have the blanket back.
He then asks whether his toy dog can say sorry mummy instead. So here he is in his fresh pyjamas, holding out his dog, saying in the sweetest of voices, "Sorry mummy." Well, my heart melts, but that's not the point of this exercise is it? I explained that his dog hasn't been naughty, he has, so he needs to say sorry.

Still, he refuses. In the end, I told him how easy it is. "Just say sorry mummy, then I'll give you a kiss and a cuddle and you can play with the blanket again!" In the end, he did and he got the kiss and cuddle, and also the blanket, which he played with for all of 5 seconds before moving onto the next thing.

Isn't this just an example of how proud we can be - even at such a young age, when not much is at stake? How important it is to teach our kids how to say sorry and ask for forgiveness. How important it is to teach them how to forgive too ... maybe in another post.

How many times have you met someone who couldn't say sorry? As if uttering those words would somehow kill them? It all begins now, when they're so little.

This is the follow on to a post I did ages ago on Guilt. We've got to teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions and admit they're guilty when they've done something wrong. This includes admitting they are guilty for pushing another kid, even if that other kid did start it. But as I said last time, it doesn't end there. The next step is asking forgiveness and hopefully receiving it. Then, there's restoration.

So in our example? If I want our son to be able to ask for forgiveness, then I can remind him what happens when there is restoration in a kiss and a cuddle. Once forgiven, we make a fresh start :-) I know this is a lesson that will be learned many times over - but isn't it great to know that no matter how many mistakes you make, your mum and dad will be there to forgive you and reach out again in love.

As I type this, I know that not every person has received this type of love from their mum and dad, and find it so hard to forgive and love again (in the bigger world I mean). So if we haven't received this forgiveness and love from others, how can we give it out? Surely, we must find forgiveness ourselves, then will be able to forgive others.

"You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me."
Psalm 86:5-7

I'm hoping this is not coming across as self-righteous - my first post on Guilt was actually because I was guilty. Guilty in so many ways, and so this path of asking forgiveness and being restored again through love is something I'm learning and practising everyday. This is something that's brought freedom to my life and something I'm hoping to pass onto our son too.

I hope this path of guilt, forgiveness and restoration brings freedom to your life too.

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