For various reasons I’ve been thinking about the ‘act of forgiveness’.
What does it mean or what should it mean?
As an individual we believe that if a person says they are sorry, we ought to forgive them. As a Christian we believe that it is imperative that we forgive someone, even if they do not say they are sorry. Some would say that even if we aren’t feeling forgiving we ought to do so anyway, to free us … to release the anger and hurt we are feeling, and give it to God.
While I certainly believe that forgiveness ought to be our goal, I think sometimes it’s not as cut and dried for some. Should we ‘mouth’ the words without feeling it in our hearts? If it’s just words does it mean anything? As a comparison, I would say that if anyone were to say the words that they are told to say, in order to become a Christian without really understanding or meaning it, is it meaningful?
Would it perhaps be more apropos to pray for God to help us through our feelings, in order that we can honestly say that we forgive someone?
When we are Christians and parenting our children, how do we teach them about forgiveness? If they do something wrong do we simply force them to say that they are sorry, without helping them understand? Do we then forgive them? Sometimes there are consequences to their misbehaviour. Do we punish them in a manner that is equivalent in degree, that their behaviour was?
If we want to present a loving and forgiving God, do we then ensure that they see that compassion and understanding in us as parents? If we are extreme in the punishment we give, how then will this affect their views?
Just some thoughts !