Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.
A brief reading today, but that doesn’t make these words any less important…
Life in a single parent family can sometimes get intense, frustrating, and hectic. There can be plenty of stress to go around, and just as many misunderstandings…which can make the tension even worse!
It is easy to get angry and then say or do things that we will later regret; this is where forgiveness comes in handy. There are many times when my daughter and I have gotten into nasty arguments, and during these ‘discussions’ we have said things we did not really mean…things that were really meant to hurt when we said them: in the midst of what was basically a temper tantrum, but that we wished we had not said once we had calmed down.
As the parent, I was at first reluctant to apologize for what I had done wrong, afraid that it would show weakness to my daughter if I said I was sorry and admitted that I was in the wrong (hey I am a guy after all); but with the help of other parents and a few professionals, I soon came to realize that this was just my ego talking, and that it was okay to admit when I really was wrong, in order to make amends and move forward.
Many years ago, before I even thought of being a parent, a friend pointed out that in almost any situation (with some exceptions; for instance if there has been abuse) no one is 100 percent right or wrong, even if I am 99 percent in the right, I need to make amends for my one percent before moving on to forgiveness; of course in most cases the percentage is closer to fifty percent for both parties in any disagreement. It was good for me to remember this when dealing with the aftermath of big blow up with my daughter and with others, including my ex-wife; it helped me to first take responsibility for my own actions and behavior, as this would help me to stay ‘right sized’ allowing me to side-step my ego, so that I could so that I could then move on to forgiving others.
Also, it helps to remember that forgiveness does not mean that what took place was okay, but it is a commitment to let go of past pains and hurts; even if this action commitment is not reciprocated.
Forgiveness, of ourselves and of others, especially our children, and their ‘other’ parent is more about us, letting go and accepting others as they are, even if they do not seem to be sorry, or even to want to be forgiven, because forgiveness is not dependent upon the acceptance of the other person…it is a gift to them, and to us, as it is a way that we can move on, and take steps towards restoring broken relationships, especially ones that will never “go away”, like with our children, who we will be connected to forever, just as God is connected to us…
To forgive in this way, without condition, is to live up to the call of today’s reading: to be kind and loving to each other…
Therefore, as followers of Christ, and as decent human beings, we are called to forgive ourselves and others, just as God has done for us, with love, acceptance, and grace; and hopefully, a commitment for change, as the ministry of Christ is a ministry of love, reconciliation and transformation!
Let us Pray
God, thank you for your unconditional forgiveness, given as a gift through Christ; help us to share this gift with our children, their other parent, and all others we find ourselves in conflict with. Help us to follow Christ’s ministry of healing and reconciliation, as we seek to make him known in our world and in the lives of our children…lives that are destined to transform our world, and move us ever closer to becoming one with your kingdom.