Barriers to Forgiveness, Part 10: Inexperience
Sometimes a person is not stubbornly closed to consider forgiveness. Sometimes a person is not distorting the meaning of forgiveness or being distracted or even too impatient to walk its path. Sometimes a person even knows the path of forgiveness….but is not forgivingly fit enough to walk it well. Sometimes a person just has not had the experience to get it right. As an analogy, a person might want to join in the marathon run, but has never trained for one. All of the good intentions in the world, all of the knowledge in the world, will not aid the person in finishing the task. It can be the same with forgiveness. The person may have read about “bearing the pain” and understand what this is and what it is not, but it remains strangely vague and unfamiliar because of a lack of experience with it. The person needs practice for it to become familiar.
We all need to be schooled in the art of forgiveness to be able to find and stay on the path and then to complete the journey. Forgiveness education is one way for children, adolescents, and adults to learn about forgiveness…..to practice it and then to practice it some more…….before tragedy strikes, before confusion and discouragement set in. We have the opportunity to help youth overcome a major barrier to forgiveness—inexperience—by helping them to learn about forgiveness, and to practice it, and to become proficient at it. Can you see the great advantage of meeting injustice while a person already is forgivingly fit, being familiar with the “how to” of forgiveness? We need forgiveness education…..now.
This is an excellent rationale for forgiveness education with children. How will they get the experience unless they practice and how can they practice without being taught?
I wish that I had this when in grade school. It would have proven more practical than a lot of the things I was asked to learn back then.
I am beginning to think that there is a gap in education when forgiveness is ignored now in the curricula. I understand when there was no such thing, say, 30 years ago, but now is the time for school systems to stand up firmly and implement forgiveness education. It is important for the current and future mental health of students.
We cannot be shy about expressing forgiveness. We must boldly do so. It gives others permission to understand, appreciate, and practice forgiveness.