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How to Teach Your Kid to Forgive

We all want to teach our kids how to do the hard things in life, and forgiveness is one of them! Here's some advice for teaching your kids to forgive.

Relationships
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We’ve all heard that the hardest words to say in the dictionary are “I’m sorry.” So as parents, it’s our job to teach our children how to do the hard things in life. And forgiving others is one of them!

There are 4 important points we should remember as we walk our kids through forgiveness:

1. Model it

We can’t expect our children to forgive others if we don’t. Whether it’s our boss, a friend, or our spouse who hurts us, it’s okay to let our kids in on our feelings. It’s important to let them know that even grown-ups get hurt, and that it’s okay to share our feelings with each other. 

After talking about your feelings, fill them in on how you got to a place of forgiveness with that person. Maybe they can even be a witness to how you and the person reconciled!

2. Admit when you're wrong

There is no better way to teach our kids about forgiveness than when we ask for forgiveness from them ourselves! It takes a lot for us parents to admit to a child when we are wrong - but as the Bible says, “Haughtiness [or pride] goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.” Proverbs 18:12

When we show our children humility, not only does it bring honor to ourselves but also honor to them in their own lives. Hearing the words “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry” from our parents, paves the way for a life of true humility and honor.

3. Speak up

Matthew 5:38-40 is a passage we refer to that can often be misunderstood. It says, “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” 

This verse doesn’t mean God wants us to accept mistreatment from other people. Rather, this verse does mean we don’t need to seek revenge. God loves us and wants what’s best for us, and he is also just. This verse is a reminder to our kids (and us!) that we as Christians can leave the judgement and redeeming in God’s hands. 

Instead of getting revenge, teach your kids the value of setting boundaries. Let them know that it’s okay to distance themselves from people who are unkind or hurtful to them.

We also have to teach kids who they can go to if someone hurts them emotionally, physically or spiritually. Help them identify safe adults in their lives like parents, teachers, or pastors. Encourage your child to speak up to those adults if they’ve been hurt by someone. 

4. Acknowledge our true Savior

Last and certainly not least, our Savior, who models forgiveness perfectly, should be the center of our conversation. While our sin is great, his grace is greater. 

Romans 5:15-21 lays it out perfectly: “For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin."

We should explain to them with certainty that God never stops forgiving us! And that no matter how big our sin is, that there is no sin that he can’t forgive. 

Forgiveness sets us free

Parents, there isn’t a much better conversation to teach our children about God’s love than a conversation about forgiveness.  It’s an honor to show our children and the world what a gift forgiveness can be.  And that it not only frees the “offender” but also the “offended.”

Just like it sets us free when we forgive others, God’s forgiveness set us free! This is why forgiveness is so very important for all of us.  At the end of the day, God’s forgiveness and grace is the key that unlocked the gates of heaven.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14

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We all want to be the best parents for our kids, and we'd love to share some helpful parenting resources with you:

5 Tips for Praying With and For Your Kids

How to Talk to Your Kids About Mental Health

7 Ways to Lead Kids Through Big Changes

Or find a Group to connect with other parents and support each other!

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LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you! 


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