Character Notes - Forgiveness
The character trait of forgiveness is one that needs to be mixed with humility and truthfulness. It is pivotal to heart to heart relationships.
One of our children came to me and asked,
What do you do when a you say sorry to someone and all they say is - good?
This was a good question and lead into some good conversation. Bottom line is that we are responsible for our own actions – not anybody else’s.
We teach our children to say,
I am sorry, I was wrong, will you please forgive me? The important phrase here being Will you please forgive me?
When we just say
sorry we are carrying the conversation, we are dealing with our guilt and our need to say sorry. But, we are not inviting the other person to deal with their feelings, their hurt and their offering forgiveness. It is a selfish, self-protecting way of healing relationships.
The other important phrase is
I was wrong or substituting the actual sin, such as
I am sorry, I got angry with you and hit you. That was wrong, will you please forgive me? Admitting that you were wrong is a very exposing thing to do – not easy – but once again if we are sincere in healing relationships we have to bear all and be open towards our brother.
There is a place for just the words,
I am sorry and that is in the case of an incidental accident – I trip over your feet,
I’m sorry. I bump into you –
I’m sorry – are you okay. I forget to get your favourite seasoning out –
I’m sorry, let me get it for you.
Little accidents that cross our path are very different from when there has been a break in relationship because of some hurt I have been responsible for. That type of hurt needs heart to heart healing. Go the whole way, apologise, admit wrongdoing and be vulnerable and ask to be forgiven.
When we do something wrong – it always affects someone. It affects you, God and other people.
When you are teaching your children this truth hold your two hands into fists, put them together to form a heart – when discussing a relationship being affected by our actions it is easy to pull the two parts of the heart a part showing that break in relationship.
It doesn’t matter if it is a big thing or a little thing, doing wrong will always affect someone.
When our relationships are broken (pull your hands apart) there is only one way to bring them back together again. (Indicate this by bringing your two fists back to form a heart).
- That is to admit that you were wrong.
- To apologise -
I am sorry, and
- To ask for forgiveness -
Will you please forgive me?
Once forgiveness has been offered to you, you need to find a way to put things right – this may mean doing something for the other person, it may mean giving them a hug and assuring them that you want to do better next time. This is Restoring the relationship.
Here is a great poster that shows the steps of Repentance, Forgiveness and Restoration:
Coloured paper (background)
Black, Red, White, Yellow paper
Glue, textas, scissors
Divide a piece of paper in thirds
Top third – cut out a heart and tear or cut into two – representing a broken heart, broken relationship – this heart can be black representing sin. Our children need to know that the wrong they do is sin.
Middle third – cut three footsteps out of red paper. I like to use red as it symbolises the blood of Jesus. Glue the footsteps across the page, label each one:
Confess (admit wrong doing)
I am sorry
Will you please forgive me
Bottom third – cut another heart – using white paper, representing a forgiven heart. We don’t just want to stick the heart back together again because true forgiveness will make the heart like new – you can’t see the fixed tear – it is new.)
To the right of the white heart cut out a golden/yellow arrow shape and glue it pointing to the right – label it:
I will do Right (Representing the Restoration)
Title for this Notebook page/Poster: Repentance Forgiveness Restoration
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