Childlike Forgiveness

The topic of forgiveness reveals another example of Jesus’ teaching—that unless we become like children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Children respond to hurt very differently than others who are older. When a small child gets hurt while playing with other children, he or she goes to a person in authority: mommy, daddy, or a teacher. In tears, the child explains what happened. The adult provides comfort and reassures the child that everything will be alright so that the child can go back and play. In a few minutes, the child is playing, even with the one who hurt them, as if nothing had happened. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus modeled this childlike approach. In Mark 14 we see Jesus in anguish in anticipation of his suffering; it is at this time where we see the only time in the Gospels that Jesus addresses Father as “Abba Father,” which in English could be translated as “daddy” or “papa.” In Jesus’ prayer, he became like a small child enduring the pain of his life and seeking comfort from his daddy. From that point forward, Jesus showed no more anxiety, but faced his ordeal with calm courage. As we grow older, we tend to share our hurt with others who may sympathize but cannot provide us with the comfort and assurance that we need. We may never go to our Abba Father for the comfort and assurance to know that everything will be alright so that we can go back “to play,” free from hurt. We may even conclude that Father abandoned us in our time of need. Therefore, we return with damaged relationships and our guard up.  We struggle to forgive those who have hurt us and become increasingly isolated, until we turn to our heavenly Father for the comfort and courage to overcome the challenges and hurt we encounter.

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