1 John 1:8–9 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiveness is such an amazing gift from God. It is also hard to accept this for ourselves and even harder to teach a child how to forgive.
Let’s start with verse eight we have to accept that we are sinful by nature. We are born into sin. A newborn baby sins because they only think of themselves and their needs. It will take a few years to learn to think of others needs and not just theirs. They will need to experience right and wrong so they can make knowledgeable choices. Then it is possible to teach a child how to forgive.
In verse nine we begin to teach children forgiveness by telling them that they need to ask God to forgive them for something that they did wrong.
I learned that lesson when I was about five. The neighbors bush had pretty white flowers that would make into a beautiful brides bouquet for my pretend wedding. It all went well until Mom asked me where I got the flowers. Then she asked if had gone to Mrs. Adcock and to see if I could pick them. Finding out that I hadn’t she walked me over to apologize for picking the flowers.
This is where we can begin to teach children forgiveness. At times they will hurt someone or take something that doesn’t belong to them; it’s natural for these things to happen. Your next step is to teach them to go to the person that they hurt or took one of their things and to apologize to them. Later, when you are alone with your child, talk to them about why they need to ask for forgiveness.
You can also bring up a time when they were hurt or had something taken from them. Ask them how they felt when they were hurt or their toy was taken away. This incident can now be used as teaching a child how to forgive. Have then tell you how they felt when the other child asked for forgiveness. Explain that their friend would also feel better when they were asked to forgive your child for something that had happened.
Now, you can tell your child that God will forgive them for the things that they have done wrong too. They should now say a prayer and ask God to forgive them and that they are sorry for doing something that they shouldn’t have done.
What are your experiences in teaching a child how to forgive?
 The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Jn 1:8–9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.