September 24, 2013

Forgiving Those Who Hurt Us

Is giving forgiveness easy for you? If you're anything like me, it can be extremely hard especially if the same person continues to hurt you over and over. Last week, the third grade son of a friend had an incident at school where he was bullied by a couple of boys. These boys were in his class and they had a knack for picking on him over the past couple school years. On this particular day (we'll call him Tom) in his way stood up for himself, and I guess it was a shock to the boys doing the bullying. They immediately went and told the teacher. When confronted by the teacher, Tom burst into tears. You see the boys told a lie to the teacher about what Tom had said to them; and being the soft-hearted child that he is, he didn't know what to do about the false accusation except cry. She took him out in the hall and was able to determine what had really happened. She told him to go to the bathroom and dry his eyes and then come back to the classroom. While he was in the bathroom, she confronted the whole class and with tears in her own eyes, asked if the whole situation was worth hurting the feelings of the sweetest boy in third grade. Some of the children were also overcome with tears, and she said that it had been a good learning lesson for them all on how they should treat each other. The teacher emailed the mom and the mom emailed the teacher back to thank her for how she had handled the situation. 

But the mom worried about she was going to approach the conversation when she picked up Tom that afternoon. Her heart was hurting so badly for what he had been through, and she was unsure how he would be feeling or if he would want to talk about it. So she prayed.

Much to her surprise, when she picked up Tom, not only was he in an excellent mood, but he was walking with the boys who had hurt him. He got in the van and she explained that she knew what had happened and wanted to know if he was OK. He simply said, "Sure Mom, everything's fine. They're my friends."  Needless to say, she was shocked!  If only we adults could have the forgiving heart of a child. Children are able to show love much like Christ loves us.

My friend says, "I wonder at what point we learn how to hold a grudge or maybe we forgive but don't forget. We adults tend to believe that it is wrong to readily offer forgiveness for that would mean we are condoning the wrong done. Indeed, we want to hold on to our hurt and anger or teach the wrong-doer a lesson. Children in all their innocence magically free themselves from these negative elements, thereby experiencing spontaneous joy and satisfaction in whatever their hearts dictate them to do. If we adults take time and interest to observe, listen and learn, our world would certainly be a better place for all of us. I pray that God renews our child-like faith and we offer forgiveness just as our Heavenly Father has forgiven us."

Grace, Kathy

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