30 days of forgiveness
Pardon is “an act of officially saying someone declared guilty can go free and avoid punishment.” When President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon, Americans were appalled. Nixon obviously abused presidential power. He was forced to resign in humiliation after a senate committee voted unanimously to forcibly remove him from office.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve pardoned my kids for various “crimes.” I simply cannot hold it against them forever. However, my mother is a pro. She can tell you in detail about some egregious act I did when I was 10 years old. I can’t.
“Pardon” was not part of our family vocabulary. Punishment always was extreme, frequent and irreversible because you can’t take back beatings or unsay harsh words.
For example, I the color guard squad. I absolutely loved it until I made a single mistake, so Mom removed me from the squad for the entire year. I was heartbroken. I tried to negotiate to no avail. Punishment did not fit the crime, which I can’t remember.
Parenting classes: a must for survivors
Thanks to amazing parenting classes, I’ve learned while the act itself was stupid, etc., the child was not. The child simply made a mistake and it needed not be tied to their identity. It’s my job to point out the error, correct, redirect and encourage.
Also, I’ve learned offenses have logical, natural or both consequences so I tap into their “currency,” i.e., removing favorite privileges, restricting favorite activities, etc., for a time but not forever. Other definitions for pardon that caught my eye include:
- The excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty;
- A release from the legal penalties of an offense; and
- Excuse or forgiveness for a fault, offense or discourtesy.
“Indulgence,” “excuse” and “release” are very powerful actions. If I exacted a penalty for every single offense ever committed by my kids they would still be in prison. I am not a warden. I am a parent. I educate, correct and rehabilitate. I am their first teacher. I teach them about grace, mercy and reconciliation. I also ensure they understand that no matter what they do I’ll always love them. Period. Nothing and no one can ever change that.
Conversely, my mother has taught my sister, who has three boys, there are conditions under which it’s okay to divorce their children. I pray she changes the way she thinks.
I didn’t marry my kids. I gave birth. Our relationship is a covenant between God, myself and those adorable rug rats. If Jesus hasn’t turned his back on me then who am I to turn my back on my kids or anyone else?
Points to ponder
What offense is unworthy of forgiveness? Why? How does that affect your relationships? What attitude can you change? If Jesus can forgive you then who do you need to forgive unconditionally?
Posts in this series
Day 1: Pushing past the pain
Day 2: Stop feeling anger
Day 3: The Lord’s Prayer
Day 4: Detachment
Day 5: Grant a pardon
Day 6: Mercy
Day 7: Release
Day 8: Yield
Day 9: Give up resentment
Day 10: Sacrifice
Day 11: Ascribe
Day 12: Surrender
Day 13: No shame, no blame
Day 14: Awareness
Day 15: Acceptance
Day 16: Action
Day 17: Pain is growth
Day 18: Grace
Day 19: Emotional and spiritual maturity
Day 20: Compassion
Day 21: Don’t give up
Day 22: The house Love built
Day 23: Let the healing begin
Day 24: Freedom
Day 25: Trust God
Day 26: Believe
Day 27: Think positive
Day 28: Restoration
Day 29: My family legacy
Day 30: It’s worth it
Podcast: A little background on Forgiveness series