“You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbors and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and o the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”
While not true for all single parents, it cannot be denied that quite often some sort domestic strife contributed to the end of a marriage or relationship; therefore, the bitterness that some single parents feel towards the “other parent”, or the “Ex” can be understandable.
Sometimes we find ourselves expressing that bitterness to our children; even though we know that this is not helpful, but when feeling overwhelmed and hurt, it is easy to make that mistake because we are all human.
I see today’s reading as being about how we learn to forgive, to put away our anger, justified or otherwise, for the sake of our children and ourselves. Children do not need to know of our bitterness and anger towards their other parent, they have enough to deal with on their own; and part of our job as parents is to make their burdens easier.
I have found that the first step to forgiveness is to understand that forgiving does not mean that what happened was okay; what it does mean is that we will let go of our resentment and move on. This takes practice and prayer…lots of prayer because it is not easy. It is because it is so difficult that we need to reach out to others (see a theme with these devotions?); it helps to talk to others who know our pain and bitterness, but important to remember that these ‘others’ do not include our children, but those we respect and trust to give us good orderly direction; for God does speak through the people in our lives.
Loving our enemies and letting go of our anger can be hard to do, but it is the best thing for our children and ourselves; it saves our energy for parenting, and helps us to rebuild communication with the other parent, a connection that can help us to make good decisions for our kids, and allows us to avoid having every discussion turn into a fight.
Let us Pray:
God, please help us to find forgiveness for those who have caused us pain or heartache. Let us remember that forgiveness does not mean that what happened was okay, but that we will move on and live our lives free from resentment. Help us to practice forgiveness in our lives, and not to share our anger with our children. Thank you for those people in our lives who can guide us through our anger and bitterness, and help us to find relief from resentment, which will allow us to become better parents.