Last night, well every night really, was a struggle getting my 4-year-old to bed at a decent hour. Like most kids her age they will do about anything to avoid laying their heads down on the pillow because they know more than likely that as soon as they do, they will be out within minutes.
Our usual nighttime routine consists of supper, baths, reading our daily devotions, saying our prayers, then hugs and kisses of course. But that all is usually followed by: needing to get up to use the restroom even though she just went, a drink of water, picking out just the right stuffed animal to sleep with and then a lengthy line of questions and stories from the day that she just miraculously happened to remember at exactly 8:59 p.m.
Last night one of her stories was about how a kid in her class accidentally spilled milk on her during lunch and she needed to bring extra clothes to school in case it happens again. I nodded and said, “Okay, no problem. Goodnight. I love you.”
She then proceeds to tell me, “It needs to be weather appropriate.”
I could not help but giggle listening to such a big word come out of her mouth, but all right, weather appropriate. Again, not a problem. I assumed she had heard her teacher say this or that her teacher told her to remind me to send extra clothes, but I asked her anyway.
She said, “Oh, I just know everything.”
This is how she gets away with staying up past her bedtime because I am amused and invested at this point.
So, I began to ask her the meaning of some of my favorite really big words. According to Ashton Elaine preposterous means “really good book.” Instantaneous means “everything is a bird.” Transcendent means “that you are really hungry.” Disillusioned means “that you made a mistake” and quintessential means that “the ceiling fan is going too fast.”
For some reason as I was coming to the end of my list of words, the word “forgiveness” just popped into my head. So, I asked her what she thought that “forgiveness” means.
Her response was, “Forgiveness means that you love someone.”
For once in my life, I was speechless. I still really cannot even put into words exactly how I felt at that moment. Just…wow.
She may have gotten the meaning of every other single word that I mentioned incorrect, but she really hit the nail on the head with that last one. She may even have had a better understanding of the word than I did, come to think of it.
When I think of the word “forgiveness” I think of letting go of some past resentment, showing mercy to someone who has hurt you or pardoning someone when they have stepped over a line. That may all be true and accurate, but really forgiveness means love.
Luke 7:47 says, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” According to this scripture forgiveness is a pathway to love.
God forgives us because He loves us. It is through His forgiveness that He shows His love for us and teaches us to forgive and love one another.
When you really dive deep and try to understand the sacrifice Jesus made and how much God must love us, to forgive us of our sins so that we may spend eternity in Heaven with Him, you can see how gracious He is. He expects us as Christians to pay it forward and that is how our faith is illustrated – in the way we forgive others and sometimes in the way we forgive ourselves.
So yes, forgiveness means that you love someone.
Another lesson for me provided by the perspicacious (that means insightful) Ashton Elaine.
(Paige Nash is a mom, wife, digital journalist for the Webster Parish Journal and publisher for the Bienville Parish Journal.)
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