Some years ago we lived on the Chesapeake Bay. We had a dry well on our property which my husband felt would once again produce water. However, even after digging for hours it remained as it was: dry. You could pour water into it but none would return; the water would just sink into the surface of the bottom. When Peter asked how many times he was to forgive, Jesus taught him the principle that forgiveness has no limit or end. It is like a well with that is dry. We must pour our words of forgiveness into it and let them float to the bottom of that trespass or resentment one apology after another with-no-end!
We have all watched children as they “trespass” against another. If they are reminded of this principle: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us they often turn to blameshifting. It was his/her fault! They hurt me first. They did this and so I did that back to them. One offense leads to another. If the offended or the offender fails to forgive then another attitude raises its ugly head; resentment. Resentment if not corrected, builds and adds to other feelings and so the cycle continues. Jesus reminded his disciples that he who would not forgive another should not expect God’s forgiveness for themselves. Perhaps that is why the prayer begins with seeking God’s forgiveness first.
So how do we help children learn this principle? How do we do it gently and with love? How do we train them in the art of forgiveness? One way is the same way Jesus taught. He modeled it in word and deed. So we must as well. Like us, children must see the need of forgiveness for all the trespasses they have committed. Little ones can learn early on that Jesus alone paid the debt; He alone forgave us our sins. There is no trespass too great that the balm of forgiveness cannot heal.