Modeling forgiveness for your Grands starts with learning to forgive. Forgiving others who have offended, hurt, or caused us emotional pain may be one of the hardest lessons we encounter in life. In the month of love, a discussion of forgiveness seems an appropriate side-by-side discussion. Especially since those we love can be a source of some of the deepest emotional distress we experience. When hurt, we struggle with the desire to lash out, seek retribution, or vengeance when we feel we’ve been wronged. The offense, whether real or imagined, creates undeniable emotions to which we must choose our response.
Herein lies the difficulty of forgiveness. It’s a chosen response. A personal choice. No one can make us forgive. Let’s be honest here, forgiving can be a truly difficult response when we’re hurting. No one likes being hurt. You don’t. I don’t. But. Everyone will be hurt or offended at some point in life and usually many times over in the course of a lifetime. How we are affected emotionally, physically, and spiritually by offenses rests largely in how we choose to respond.
If we harbor the anger, bitterness, distrust, and vengeful feelings that usually accompany an offense, we may fall into despair and depression. We could even make ourselves physically ill, or maybe even turn to violence. We may turn those feelings inward and suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of confidence which hinders our opportunities in life. These are not paths most of us would willingly choose. But offenses often lead us into the patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior that put us at risk of such results.
As we think about our grandchildren, we need to be sensitive to whether or not we model positive methods of handling offense and forgiving those around us. Both their parent’s and our behaviors will influence how they manage their own emotional reactions to difficult relationships and circumstances in the future.
Modeling Forgiveness Book Recommendation
If this is an area you struggle with then I’m recommending a book for you to read. Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall.
Someone recommended it to me at a time in my life when I was struggling to forgive someone who had hurt me deeply. In it, I found understanding and acceptance that my feelings were real and my choices were powerful. I was the determining factor in what emotional baggage I chose to drag around as a result of the hurt I was feeling.
As I learned to forgive, I discovered that my heart was lighter. I experienced more joy and peace. I didn’t get as upset about difficult interactions with others. Do I still get hurt sometimes? Sure. I’ve learned the power of forgiveness though. I’m free to choose how I respond to individuals and circumstances. Once the choice to forgive is made, I’m free to move forward.
Bless your grandchildren with a powerful life lesson and life skills. Teach them to forgive and move on so they can live with peace and joy in their hearts instead of bitterness and anger.
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