Return the Favor

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Learn to forgive the sins of your family members, just as God forgives our sins.

“For we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” —Luke 11:4 ESV

Kids make mistakes. Lots of them. Sometimes those mistakes are pointed squarely in our direction as moms. We understand that missing the mark is part of the learning process, but when we are extra tired, extra stretched, or extra raw as we mother, all of that disobedience, anger, and loss of our personal property can sting.

God gives us a radical example of forgiveness in action. He doesn’t hold our patterns of sin against us. He never says, “You always do that!” or “I’ve told you not to do that a million times!” Instead He throws our sin one way and chooses to walk in the opposite direction. We are loving our children well when we offer them the same undeserved, all-encompassing kind of grace.

Author and fellow mom Rachel Jankovic writes, “If breaking the window has been forgiven, act like it. Forget it. Do not hold past incidents over your children, especially if you’ve told them you’ve forgiven them. Let it go all the way, every time, ‘as far as the east is from the west’” (Ps. 103:12).

Action Step: Change your vocabulary.

Members of a family need to apologize to each other often. In fact, we say the words “I’m sorry” so much that they can start to get watered down. Instead, when an offense is committed, have your children say, “Please forgive me.” Say the same words when you are the offender. Asking this way requires action by the offended (forgiveness) and takes a step toward reconciling after the wrong has been set right.

A Mom’s Prayer: Father, thank You for offering forgiveness so freely and so completely. Show us how to be a family that values forgiveness and offers it well to each other. 

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