Updated: Oct 10
“Wise men say forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.” Michealangelo
Ever had those moments when your kids are completely driving you up the walls? You’ve told them 6 times to pick up their shoes, their toys, their backpack, their trash, and on and on and on. And finally. You snap.
Yeah…I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. One of the hardest things I’ve learned in fatherhood, and even marriage, is how to correctly use, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” Usually when I’m upset and lose my cool, I want to dig my heels in and be right. I want to win - even when I’m the knucklehead that’s in the wrong.
Sometimes I want to even qualify my poor actions. “I’m sorry I yelled at you…BUT the reason I yelled is because I’ve told you 400 times to pick up YOUR mess and YOU refused to listen to ME.” Not much of an apology, huh? We really like to qualify our mistakes with a but - but we all know they stink.
When you’re wrong, ask for forgiveness.
Our kids, and spouses, need to hear us apologize to them and ask for forgiveness – without qualification. They usually know what they did wrong - if they even did wrong. They really don’t need us to rub their nose in it. I'm sure most of us can relate to times where someone has over and over again reminded us of our mistakes. If you're anything like me, you don't need someone to tell you about all of your mistakes. You already know them and you're disappointed enough in yourself.
Instead, what we can give them is a Christlike example of asking for and receiving forgiveness. I know I'm glad that Jesus doesn't beat me over my head everyday with all of my faults. But incredibly he chooses to remove them from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103.12).
I’ve also learned that being quick to forgive helps prevent bitterness from setting in. My family are the last people in the world that I want to withhold forgiveness from or live in bitterness with. So let’s be people that choose to forgive and ask for forgiveness.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
If forgiveness is something you struggle with I highly recommend the book Forgive: Why Should I and How Can I? by Timothy Keller.