Wow! In my son’s life, I have had plenty of opportunities to ask him for forgiveness. I discovered that the very best way to teach him about forgiveness is to ask for it whenever I’ve wounded him in any way that has created a strain on our relationship.
There is a Difference between Being Sorry and Asking for Forgiveness
When I bump into someone on the street, I say, “I’m sorry, or excuse me”. I am asking for an exception or for consideration for my action. Asking for forgiveness, on the other hand, is seeking to cancel a wrong by accepting responsibility for a behavior or action that has caused pain or an emotional separation in my relationship with another person.
The Benefits of Forgiveness
Genuinely asking for forgiveness will not weaken your relationship with your son or diminish your authority as a parent. He will not think less of you for making a mistake. Seeking forgiveness will restore and preserve your relationship.
Your son will learn to trust that you love him and care enough about your relationship with him to want to make things right again. He will begin to understand that asking forgiveness and giving forgiveness frees him and others from guilt and bitterness. It is also a great way to model sincere humility and repentance AND to show that even adults make mistakes!
Five Ways to Teach Your Son about Forgiveness
1. Demonstrate the value of your relationship with him by asking for forgiveness at the appropriate times.
2. Read true stories about people who have forgiven others for grave misdeeds. Great examples of amazing people who have graciously forgiven those who tormented and wounded them (when carrying a grudge would have been easier) are Jesus Christ, Cory TenBoom, Louie Zamperini, Nelson Mandella, etc.
3. Read or tell stories about people who could not forgive and how it affected their life and relationships.
4. Share your own personal stories about forgiveness and why forgiving was important to you.
5. Help your son to ask for forgiveness when he has wronged his family, friends, or others. Work with him as he prepares to seek forgiveness, and do not allow him to avoid this sometimes painful and awkward process.
Don’t waste your time just talking about forgiveness. Show your son how it’s done!
Key Verse: Colossians 3:13
What did your parents model to you about forgiveness?
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