1. Forgiveness can be such a stumbling block in our lives. Tons of studies exist that prove that withholding forgiveness affects us not only spiritually, but also physically. These facts, combined with what you've read in this chapter make a pretty compelling argument for teaching sons how to ask for forgiveness. How have you done it in the past?
We have been teaching our sons to humbly admit when they have done wrong and ask for forgiveness from God and from the offended party.
2. What is your understanding of forgiveness? Have you thought much about the difference between asking for forgiveness and offering an apology?
Forgiveness is releasing the person who has wronged us from occupying our heart and mind, letting go of the ill feelings we have toward that person, and not allowing bitterness or hatred to take up residence in our heart. Asking for forgivenss means you admit you've sinned, you're repentant and want to make things right, and you hope the other person will no longer hold anything against you. Offering an apology doesn't necessarily mean you're really repentant. You may be sorry for getting caught but you're not sorry for what you did/why you did. It certainly takes more humility and courage to ask for forgiveness than to offer an apology. I agree with Brooke regarding the proper uses of forgiveness and apology. By the way, both must be done with sincerity; otherwise, they are meaningless.
Sin--->Repentance--->Asking for Forgiveness
3. Can you remember a funny example of when it was OK for your son(s) to offer an apology, such as the incident Brooke described in this chapter? Describe it here.
I'm sure there are several but I just can't think of a specific example right now.
4. Have you ever asked your son(s) to forgive you for sinning against them? Why? Why Not? Could it be important?
Oh yes! Why? It's because I'm not immune to sinning (wish I was). I'm not infallible (shocking truth :))! When we sin, we not only sin against another person, but also against God. Forgiveness brings healing and restoration to relationship. It is very important to have a forgiving spirit/attitude/heart. We are to forgive others as Christ forgives us. It is just as important to have a humble heart that asks others for forgiveness. Often, pride gets in the way and makes it very difficult to admit that we're wrong and that we need to ask for forgiveness. We must put pride aside and set a good example for our sons.
5. Has there ever been a moment of deep forgiveness between you and your son(s)? Describe what that moment meant to you here.
Yes. It meant a world of diffence. I asked my (challenging) son to forgive me for all my past mistakes/failures in my parenting him; he forgave me. He also asked me to forgive him; of course, I did. That moment of mutual deep forgiveness was like fresh clean water washing over our muddy hearts, removing the stains of disappointments, blame, and frustrations.
Lord, please forgive all my sins and my sons' sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Please help my sons and me to always extend the same forgiveness that You grant us to one another and to others. Please help my sons to have forgiving, humble, teachable hearts; please take all pride and haughtiness away from them. In Jesus's name, I pray. Amen!