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Originally published July 14, 200810 Commandments Parenting 9

9.
Thou shalt be forgiving.

“bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Colossians 3:13

Imagine a home where there was no forgiveness. Anger and bitterness would reign supreme. Old wounds would be nursed and rehearsed. Grudges would be held tightly as treasured friends. Is this kind of home healthy for anyone, let alone children? Is it Christlike?

Of course not. In our homes, the place where we are most inclined to let it all hang out, forgiveness is even more vital than in any other venue. If you have a husband and/or children, you know that the people who live in your house are going to mess up. Royally, at times. And guess what? So are you.

How will you want to be treated when you mess up? I’m guessing that while you’ll understand your family will be disappointed in you, you’ll still want them to find it in their hearts to forgive you once they work through that disappointment. In obedience to the “Golden Rule” (Luke 6:31), therefore, you’ve got to extend forgiveness when your husband or children offend you.

When we forgive each other, we paint a picture of God’s forgiveness. Just as God does not condone our sin when He forgives us, the forgiveness we extend on the human level does not mean that the offender’s actions were OK. It is merely a way of saying, “I’m going to let this go instead of continually holding it against you.”

God deeply values forgiveness. It is the entire reason He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth and allowed Him to be brutalized to death. Jesus endured all that pain and degradation so that each of us could be forgiven for offending God. And, if God could go through all of that to forgive us, how could we – out of love for Him – ever refuse to forgive our loved ones?

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