It seems that one of the hardest things to do and teach is to forgive. When a child or teen is offended, it is only natural for her to want justice. When our children are hurt, we might want justice even more because we want to protect our children from pain. I am still amazed, however, at the number of Christian parents who encourage an “eye for an eye” or a “punch for a punch” moral code.
While doing what we can to keep our children from being hurt, we must recognize that it is more important to teach them to forgive. 1 John 2:2 may not include the actual word “forgive,” but it makes the foundation for forgiveness profoundly clear. This verse says that Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.”
So when your teens are hurt, take the opportunity to teach them forgiveness rather than to demand justice. Why? Because as the “propitiation” of the world, Jesus earned God’s good favor toward the hater, not just the one hated. In His death, justice was accomplished in that every sin committed by or against us was punished. When we teach our teens to get even, we are teaching them to live in a way that belittles what Christ did for the world.
Christ suffered so that the Father would look with favor at the one who hurt your child. Refusing to forgive says that Christ did not suffer enough to cover the sin that hurt your child. So protect your child. But when she is hurt, teach her that Jesus already took all the punishment that this particular offense deserves. The just sentence for this offense has already been served by Christ. All that is left to do is to offer the grace of forgiveness.