Four summers ago, some teenage friends came to visit from out of state. Since no visit to Minnesota is complete without a trip up north, we drove to the north shore of Lake Superior. We crested the mountain (okay, it’s a hill but qualifies as a mountain in Minnesota) in Duluth and overlooked the shimmering water of Lake Superior.
“Wow, is that a lake?” asked sixteen-year-old Avery.
Half an hour later, she looked out the window again and asked, “Is that still the same lake?”
Two hours later we pulled into Grand Marais, a cozy town on Superior packed with shops, restaurants, and the launching point to amazing hiking and biking trails.
And still there splashed the waves of Lake Superior.
All Avery could say was “wow”!
Lake Superior is the biggest of all the Great Lakes. If you stretched the shoreline into a straight line, the line would reach from Duluth, Minnesota to the Bahamas. Lake Superior may not be the ocean, but it’s big—really big!
And that’s just a fraction of how big God’s forgiveness is.
Forgiveness can be hard for kids to understand. In the book of Micah, God gives them a picture of what it means.
You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
The wrong things we do are like stones.
When you tell God what you did was wrong and ask him to forgive you, he doesn’t hold it against you. He doesn’t tuck those stones away and pull them out later to remind you how bad you were. Instead, he throws them far away, as if he were throwing them into the deep, deep sea.
That’s how God tells us to forgive
How God forgives us is how he tells us to forgive others.
Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
you don’t pay someone back for what they did.
you don’t stay angry at them.
you stop blaming them.
you let it go.
you let it alone.
Forgive is letting go. It’s freeing someone from owing you anything. Even if that person never says what they did was wrong.
“But it’s too hard!”
You might saying, “But I can’t! It’s too hard!” “They really hurt my feelings!” “He wrecked my race track.” “She borrowed my favorite shoes without asking!”
One thing that helps is to know that forgiving DOESN’T mean…
what someone did was right.
you will completely forget what someone did. You just don’t keep reminding yourself of what they did wrong.
Just like God threw your sin into the ocean as far as he could and as hard as he could, you can do the same thing.
An Idea to Help You Forgive
Sometimes instead of just thinking about forgiving or even praying about it, it helps to DO something.
- Choose a rock any size, big or small, and hold it in your hand. Pretend it’s the wrong thing someone did to you.
- Then pray, “God, _____ really hurt, but I want to forgive from my heart. Help me forgive them like you forgive me.”
- Throw the rock as hard and far as you can–into a lake or a stream or into the woods behind your house.
- Trust God to make the forgiveness real in your heart.
© Carol Garborg, 2021