I teach kindergarten faith classes Sunday mornings at my church. This is my third year doing so and for the second time I am blessed to be teaching one of my own daughters. Yesterday we talked about forgiveness. The lesson was accompanied by two worksheets. One, a small banner which read "I'm sorry" for the children to trace and to take home to use to help heal a friendship or relationship hurt by a wrongdoing. Two, a hidden picture coloring sheet which contained the words "I forgive". Each class presents new challenges and this week's was noise. The classroom next to us was impossibly loud and we had a guest child along with one of the children who was far too chatty with her friend. This challenge necessitated a choice for me to make, we only had time for one project: trace and color the "I'm sorry" banner sheet or color the "I forgive" worksheet.
I chose forgiveness. Want to know why? Because just like love, forgiveness is something entirely within my control. It is not dependent on an apology or even an acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Because let's face it, some people will likely never apologize, some because of pride or vanity, others because they refuse to admit to doing anything wrong and some frankly probably never even realize that what they have done was hurtful. But forgiveness, forgiveness is mine. I can forgive in any and all of those situations. I can forgive anyone for anything. I alone can lift the burden of hurt that rests in my heart and in doing so release the bonds that tie me to that pain. While hearing "I'm sorry" is a wonderful thing and I highly encourage any hurt to be accompanied by an apology, I choose forgiveness.