Nope, I’m not talking about your kid’s first Daisy BB gun (as much as every kid needs a pellet gun.) Pellet guns are good for knocking over tins cans, but I’m talking about the number one spiritual weapon we can arm our kids with. There are some spiritual weapons that our children are not able to wield yet. For example, they don’t have a handle on truth yet, so it isn’t really powerful in their hands. Nor do they have a handle on the kind of faith that defeats the most dangerous attacks of the devil. Most of the time, they don’t hear God’s voice accurately, so the Sword of the Spirit also isn’t extremely effective.
There is, however, a spiritual weapon that is just as effective in the hands of a kid as in an adult; forgiveness. (I can tell you may be about to check out… but don’t! The next paragraph is hilarious.)
Project “Acoustic Kitty”This week as I prepared to teach our middle school students on this somewhat boring concept, I decided to look up unusual weapons from history. By far, “Acoustic Kitty” was the best one. It involved surgically implanting a cat with a hidden microphone and transmitter with the intention of sending them into parks and public spaces to eavesdrop on suspected spies. After 10 years of development and 10 MILLION dollars into the project, the CIA discovered what every cat owner has always known, cats are either too smart or stupid to be used for any serious effort. As it happened, “Acoustic Kitty” ran the opposite direction from her target and was summarily squashed by a vehicle*.
A More Effective Weapon
To be sure, forgiveness is an expensive and time-consuming development project. R & D on the forgiveness project, lasted thousands of years before it was perfected on the cross, and to say that the results were earth-shattering, is an understatement. As the project was completed, the ground literally shifted. For those of us who have experienced the genuine forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we know the potential that it wields. However, to the uninitiated, forgiveness is a dry concept at best, and evil at worst.
Why would someone think that forgiveness is evil? There could be various reasons. Some people see forgiveness as weakness. Why would I forgive someone for the pain they caused me? I suppose they have a point, there is a declaration of weakness in forgiving others. There are also those who think that forgiving someone is to let them off the hook. That is ridiculous, and it assumes a common misconception in forgiveness; namely that forgiveness is about the other person when it is, in fact, about you.
If it helps, consider a school-yard bully. If you didn’t know, please let me assure you that a bully is one of the weakest people on the playground. They are so weak that they need to exploit others in order to feel a sense of cheap power. Although our kids’ bullies will likely be waiting for them on the playground again tomorrow, when our kids choose to forgive, their hearts are strengthened and they are prepared to face that evil anew. When our kids choose to forgive, they are taking back control of their own lives! They are making a declaration that no one can affect their contentment. You can take away my freedom if you want, but don’t think that you have power over my emotions.
When we teach our children to forgive we are giving them power over their own lives. And that is pretty powerful!
The Only Place Forgiveness Is Found
Think about the astonishing example that Jesus is to us. God created human beings knowing full-well that we would run after lesser gods and trample His free love. The plan for restoration? Sending Jesus, His Son, to die on the cross so that we could receive forgiveness for a crime which earned US death. That forgiveness is currently available for those who choose it, and yet so many people continue to reject it. Or worse! They trample the One who offers it! We are God’s greatest bullies. And yet the cross satisfied God’s requirements for our reunion with Him.
In his book, Once Saved Always Saved, David Pawson writes, “A few years ago representatives of all the major world religions gathered in India for an inter-faith dialogue. Each was asked in one word to name a benefit their religion could offer which could not be found elsewhere. The Christian simply said: ‘Forgiveness’. This was greeted in silence. No-one else could make this claim!
God would have offered forgiveness even if He knew no one would receive it. His love compelled Him to do it. Is that something we teach our children?
A Weapon Forged in Hell’s Fires
The development of new weapons has defined entire eras. “The Bronze Age” was followed by “The Iron Age.” Today we live in a nuclear age. Shockingly, the 1960’s did not usher in the “Acoustic Kitty Age.” Hindsight may be 20/20 but surely someone could have poked a few holes in that project before 10 years were poured into it. Acoustic Kitty was a doomed project; it was destined for failure. Forgiveness is not.
Arming your child with forgiveness is to equip them with the most profound and under-appreciated weapons in our spiritual arsenal. I think we could appropriately call the last 2000 years “The Age of Forgiveness.” Forgiveness displaced the power of bronze and iron in weaponry. Forgiveness was born in God’s heart of unconditional love and was tempered in the sin-fueled fires of hell. Nothing is stronger in our fight against the devil.
If you were to help your kids forgive their enemies, their bullies, their siblings and their parents every night before bed, you would be training them to handle the very weapon that turned the devil on his tail. Who would have ever thought that a righteous, holy God would forgive the rebels who trampled His love? I don’t think the devil saw it coming.
Simply said, the greatest weapons training we can give our children is training them to properly handle forgiveness.
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