“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12 NIV)
As a loving parent, you want to protect your kids and do as much for them as you can. But no matter what you do, you can’t prevent your kids from being hurt by others.
Our kids will be hurt by others because the world is full of imperfect human beings. And, as much as we don’t like it, we won’t be able to prevent our kids from hurting other people because they’re imperfect human beings as well.
Jesus has the answer: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 NIV).
Notice there are two sides to this. First, “forgive us our debts.” No one is perfect, all of us sin, all of us have gone down a wrong path, made wrong choices, and, as a result, we live with guilt. We’ve disappointed ourselves, and we know we’ve disappointed God.
So how do we deal with guilt? We need to teach our children that the way to deal with guilt is to recognize the forgiveness that God gives us through Jesus Christ. We can confess our sins and know that he is faithful to forgive us.
Then we need to deal with the fact that other people have hurt us, which can leave us with feelings of resentment. God’s answer to that is to replace it with his peace – and that comes from forgiving others, just as God forgave us.
We never want to see our children get hurt, but in those moments we can teach them to forgive others. We can help them understand that, if they hold onto that resentment, it will eat away at their lives like an acid. So teach them to ask for God’s peace and to offer forgiveness to the person who hurt them.
by Tom Holladay