It Is Essential to Forgive Others as the Lord Has Forgiven You

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
— Colossians 3:13

What is a simple seven letter word that is very hard to do?  Forgive.  No matter how many times we are told that forgiveness is an act that benefits the forgiver more than the person being forgiven, we still often view it as a tough task, usually because of our pride.  Not only can refusing to forgive be detrimental to us physically, but also spiritually.

Forgiveness is not an option in living a Christian lifestyle, but rather a requirement.  Colossians 3:13, our scripture text, actually commands us to forgive as God has first forgiven us.  It does not say that we are allowed to forgive sometimes, depending on what that person has done to us.  We are to always forgive – period.

One of the most poignant stories of forgiveness for me in modern times was when Pope John Paul II forgave the man who tried to assassinate him in 1981.  The shooter fired many shots, four of which hit the Pope.   He lost a great deal of blood but survived.  The shooter was caught and sentenced to life in prison.  Two years later, the Pope visited the would-be assassin in prison and forgave him.  The two emerged from the visit as friends.  But, the Pope even went further.  He requested that the shooter be pardoned, and he eventually was, and became a Christian. 

Now that is forgiveness in action!

How Our Love For Our Moms Matures As We Get Older

Today’s blog is a celebration of moms as Mother’s Day is on Sunday.  What more can be said about how wonderful our moms are that has not already been said?    What I would like to focus on is our relationships with our moms. To me, the statement on my blog shows how our views of our mothers change at different ages and is very accurate.

I look at my own relationship with my mother.  Although I never felt that my mother was “annoying”, I have had many of these feelings at different ages.  When I was young, my love for my mother was characterized by an exclamation mark: it was a love for a mother who was the world to me and the center of my universe.  As I got into my teens, I was ready to get out of my mother’s nest and spread my wings. However, after leaving home and living every day in the real world, by my 20s, I knew my mother had been often right.  Now, later in age, I really don’t want to lose my mom.  I spend the major holidays with her and try to stay in contact with her as much as possible.  She can’t travel now because she suffered a stroke, so I visit her.  I am certain that as I get older, I will appreciate and love her even more!

As I look at my sons’ relationships with me, I see the same pattern too.  My sons are now in their 20s, so I get to hear “Mom, you were right.”  But, that was only after years of being “annoying” to them and their wanting to leave the house and spread their wings. 

No matter what stage of life you are at, it is very important to love your mother.  Allow your relationship with your mom to grow and mature, as you do.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Plan A Parent-Child Date Night Every Now and Then

Last week, I wrote about how important it is for parents to have regular date nights away from their children so that they can develop a deep relationship with each other.  Today, I am focusing on a parent having a “date” or “date night” with a child.  Why would such an event be important?  The answer is simple – because it is a special time specifically set aside just for the parent and child to bond.

Each child is unique.  In order to learn what is truly distinctive about your child and the gifts God has given him/her, you need to spend time with each of them apart from your busy day.  As you do, you talk, ask questions, listen without being judgmental, laugh, hold hands and do whatever else makes you both have fun and enjoy each other’s company.  There should be no cell phones, lap tops, or other demands on a parent’s time and attention, as your full concentration should be on spending quality time with your child.   And, you can stay home or go out for an activity; you can go to a free event or an expensive one, such as dining at a fancy restaurant.  You can do them once a month or more frequently.  The choice is yours. 

In her blog, homeschool mom Heather Brown gives very good advice about parent-child dates and makes some creative recommendations about what to do with your child on these “dates”.   To read more, visit this link.

Why Parents’ Date Night Matters to Your Family

Ephesians 5:33Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (ESV)

Ephesians 5:28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (ESV)

When was the last time that you and your spouse had a specific day set aside just for the two of you or what we have come to know as “date night”?  Parents are so busy with their work, raising children, and participating in extracurricular activities that often, they do not consider their relationship as something to cherish and nurture.  The Bible admonishes a husband to love his wife as his own body, and for a wife to respect and love her husband.   How can a husband and wife do that if they do not spend quality time alone together.

Many spouses believe that setting aside time for each other is too difficult.  Quite the contrary - especially if you set your mind to it.  Begin by making sure that both parties agree on the day and time ahead of time.  Don’t wait until the last minute and then suggest a “date night” because it will be doomed to failure.  Importantly, “date night” does not need to actually take place at night.  For example, it can take place one week on a weekday for dinner at 7 p.m.  During the next week, it can be a picnic lunch, and a stroll in the park another week, and visiting an art show another week.   Plan a variety of things to do, rather than just the same thing on each date, so that there is not monotony and boredom.  You both should plan to make this time special for each other.

There can be date nights at home too.  Be creative.  Plan on putting the children to bed early and have a special night with your spouse.  The critical issue is that the “date night” is planned and set aside.  Guard and protect this time from any outside interference, such as texts or phone calls from your children.  Time together with your spouse is vital for the well-being of the entire family.

For more “date night” ideas, visit this webpage.