I worry that if I teach my children about forgiveness, then they may try it while misunderstanding it. They might excuse or even try to reconcile with someone who has bullied them in the past. What can you suggest so that I do not create a false sense of what forgiveness is as I teach them about it?

A key is to keep in front of the children the common misconceptions of forgiving:

  • When you forgive, stay tough-minded in knowing that what the other did was wrong.
  • When you forgive, that does not magically make the other’s actions right. Those actions remain wrong even when you forgive.
  • Reconciliation occurs when you feel safe and can trust the person.
  • If you do not feel safe, tell a responsible adult about this.
  • You can forgive without reconciling.
  • When you forgive, do not forget to seek fairness.
  • You can and should exercise justice and forgiveness together. Forgiveness does not mean that you put up with another person’s unfairness.

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