During a Sunday School discussion on forgiveness, a young child asked, "Should we even forgive a person who drags us on the ground by our feet?" I could tell she thought some sins could be too much to forgive. I said that sometimes it is hard to forgive, and when we do forgive it doesn't mean we forget. I told her we need to remember the person is made in God's image, and we can hope and pray they will do better in the future.
I believe the child will ponder what I said along with the message she heard from the other teacher about Jesus. She will be noticing if what we said lines up with her life experiences. She will consider if the way of Jesus helps her to get along better in life.
The lesson I learned is that I am not always prepared for the questions the children bring into the classroom. I have to trust in God to give me answers on the spot. I realize these early hurts the children experience are only the beginnings of a line of hurts they will have to work through for all of their life spans. They don't yet recognize many ways of dragging people down exist other than just being pulled by the feet.
I pray for this girl and all the children in the class to be developing the habit of true forgiveness that can only come through Jesus. They are too young to fully understand the depth of His forgiveness of our sins, and the depth He gives us in forgiveness of the sins of others. But they are old enough to think about the difference between forgiving and forgetting. You can forgive at the same time as you stay out of the way of those who try to drag you down.
Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.
(He gives us confidence that we can forgive even the worst, as He keeps us safe from harm.)