It is weekly, and at times daily, that I have to ask my kids to forgive me for something I have said or an attitude I have portrayed. Just the other morning after a really rough prior evening, I got down on my knees in front of my 4 year old, held her sweet hand, looked into her eyes, and poured out my heart, "Baby, I just want to say I am sorry that I got easily frustrated last night. I did not reflect the patience of God. I have asked Him to forgive me and help me in those trying moments to make good choices. Remember that He always forgives when we ask and He is able to help you overcome any weakness you may be struggling with. So will you forgive me too?" I waited with anticipation of her words, wondering what her precious heart was pondering, and after a brief moment of reflection she said, "OK I forgive you. Mommy, when did you say we are going to Shelby's birthday party?" Just like that the moment was gone.
How do kids do that? No grudges. No attitude that insists upon penance. They simply forgive and move on. I think this is one reflection of the heart that Jesus desires in us when He said, "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) Someone once said to me, "Forgiveness is choosing to remember no more." I love this. When we live in unforgiveness towards someone we are the one who actually suffers. We are the one who lives bound and bitter. Forgiveness does not mean you are condoning some one's wrong behavior as right; forgiveness is freedom to your soul. Not only that, who are we not to forgive someone? Look at all God has forgiven of us. It was my own sin and your own sin that put Jesus on that cross. He died a brutal death as the perfect sacrifice for my sin before a holy God.
We can be free from the chains of unforgiveness. In order to drop that heavy weight we must be like a little child and let God be the judge.