There was stomping, moping, and a big lip that puckered out. I released a sigh and told myself things had to change. Everyone in the house is affected when there's a bad attitude floating around—especially when it's Mama's attitude!
I'm not a yeller. I'm not one that will shoot words like arrows. Instead, when I feel someone has hurt or offended me, I pout. And tears usually come. Most of the time my family doesn't intend to hurt me. My husband's comment about how much groceries cost has more to do with the bills that he needs to pay rather than my inadequacies—or at least that's what he tells me after I slink away, shrink down on the couch and try to hide my tears.
When John hurts me, he's usually quick to seek forgiveness. I wish I could say that I was as quick to give it. When I'm hurt the emotions are very real, and they're not easy to shake off. More than that, part of me feels I deserve to feel bad for a while. Have you ever felt that way?
My co-authors Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges talk about this in our book Lead Your Family Like Jesus:
Surrender to Forgive:
For parents, as for everyone else, forgiveness requires intentional surrender. It demands that we leave the debts—for which our pride and ego demand payment—uncollected.
As we guide our children through the long, slow process to maturity, we need to be open to learning lessons from them, too. We need forgiveness and grace to be active habits and parts of our leadership. We need to extend forgiveness and grace to our children, and to other people who may offend us on our parenting journey: teachers, coaches, other parents, and even grandparents.
More than that, we often need to extend forgiveness to ourselves. You will mess up as a person and a parent—all of us do. Instead of dwelling on our failures, we need to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, turn to God to help us with our pride and ego, and forgive ourselves for not being perfect. God doesn’t expect our perfection—and we shouldn’t, either. But He does expect—and require—forgiveness.
It's hard sometimes to forgive a family member or friend who hurts us, but do you also struggle with forgiving yourself? Here are four steps to forgiving yourself:
Realize that unforgiveness chains you to your past. It's like an anchor inside that wears you out and holds you down. It keeps you from walking fully in the present moment and enjoying where you are now.
Realize punishing yourself will not change things. Whether your misdeed was big or small it happened and punishing yourself won't undo it. Instead, unforgiveness will hold you back from making good choices today.
Realize God has forgiven us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” By refusing to forgive ourselves it's like saying that what God did—by allowing Himself to die for our sins—wasn't good enough, and we must be a better judge of ourselves.
Realize that our kids are watching. When we model a healthy sense of our repentance and forgiveness then our kids will know how it should work in their own lives. None of us will ever make good choices right 100% of the time, but when we offer and accept forgiveness we will show our children the freedom that comes. And don't we want that for our kids? I know I do. That's why I'm working to offer forgiveness when someone hurts me, and this means offering it to myself, too.
More about Lead Your Family Like Jesus: Does your family need a five-star general at the helm? A psychologist? A referee? Ken Blanchard, best-selling co-author of The One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus, points to a better role model: the Son of God. Joined by veteran parents and authors Phil Hodges and Tricia Goyer, renowned business mentor Blanchard shows how every family member benefits when parents take the reins as servant-leaders. Moms and dads will see themselves in a whole new light-as life-changers who get their example, strength, and joy from following Jesus at home. This user-friendly book's practical principles and personal stories mark the path to a truly Christ-centered family, where integrity, love, grace, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness make all the difference.
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