Forgiveness...

It's a staple around these parts. Forgiveness is a daily, sometimes hourly practice in our home. Just about an hour ago Robby said (after repeating my prompting): "Running away was wrong. I'm sorry, Mama. Will you forgive me?" Yes, son. I forgive you. Let's remember to always ask if you want to do something LIKE RUN INTO THE LAKE WHEN I CANNOT SEE YOU.

He just wanted to go into the water while we were packing from our our day at the beach with our friends and families. I was packing up in one direction, Rob was in another and children were playing, laughing.....and then: where's Robby???

Wading into the water with his Capri Sun like it's nothing.

Well, we all know it wasn't nuthin'. He was sorry he did that, for sure. Anybody else have a good child-ran-away-and-you-freaked moment?

I have been reading about forgiveness on an adult level lately, too. Here's a few thoughts in case you need them and have to do the hard work of forgiveness. The sweaty toil of prayerful nights as you seek to forgive someone that just wants to cling to you; clinging like a spider web you didn't see on your morning jog through a wooded path. How do I untangle this invisible mess and forgive?

-Forgiveness is the release of the hope of a different past.

-Forgiveness is when I stop punishing the one who hurt me.

-Forgiveness is an event AND a process. I say "I forgive you" as an event. And then each time I remember the offense, I must continue to forgive.

-Forgiveness is a three-fold promise: When you forgive someone you absorb the cost of the offense committed against you. You cancel the debt, and when you do, you say 3 things: -"I will not bring up this offense again or use it against you" -"I will not bring it up to others in gossip, or malign you because of it." -"I will not bring it up to myself and dwell on the offense" (I will not replay the videotape of your sin so that I can savor every excruciating detail)

-Failure to forgive turns victims into victimizers. Matthew 18:28 - The servant in the parable did not forgive. Instead, he grabbed and choked the one who owed him. When we fail to forgive, we are active, not passive.

-Forgiveness cancels a debt. When there is a debt, someone must pay it. Either the one who owes must pay it back, or the one who is owed must absorb the loss. Either the one who has sinned must make amends or the one who has been sinned against must bear the pain and loss himself. The offense can't be minimized or ignored. The person who forgives no longer expects to be repaid for what she has suffered and lost.

May forgiveness free you..... forgive (how can you not forgive a face like that?)