A Lesson In Forgiveness

Forgive us our trespasses…
From Matthew 6:12

It was almost Halloween and I was in need of more candy. As I watched a young teacher gather treats for her students, my thoughts returned to the days before my first class Halloween Party.

Three of my students had already distinguished themselves behavior-wise. Halloween’s approach proved to be too much for them. The little imps couldn’t keep themselves in line; they couldn’t keep themselves quiet, and they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. By Wednesday before our party, they’d pushed beyond my fairly minimal limits. That afternoon, I informed them that they would not attend our class party. Crestfallen, they moped as we walked outdoor at dismissal. Thursday morning, they romped around the playground until they saw me. My presence apparently reminded them that they’d be sitting outside the principal’s office the following afternoon. Their skips morphed into slow walks and their smiling eyes clouded over. They focused on the blacktop beneath their feet as they joined the line inching into school.

Jesus made his thoughts regarding forgiveness clear. When I acknowledge my own imperfections, I mope like my wayward students who did their best to spoil Halloween for themselves that year. The day before the party, I saw that my three outcasts were somewhat subdued. By Friday morning, I hardly noticed them at all as they’d joined in their classmates’ cooperative efforts. An hour after lunch, as my three friends gathered pencils, paper and books for the trek to the principal’s office, my heart ached. “Do you know why you’re leaving?” I asked. Each one nodded. “What are you going to do about it?” I asked. “Be good!” they said unison. With that, in spite of what I’d told them earlier, I led them back to their desks to join in the festivities.

Merciful God, thank you for teaching me to forgive.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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