19th October 2018

If we want to truly live in community, learning to forgive and having the courage to ask for forgiveness, is an important component.

Over the last three weeks, we have looked at the action steps the Dalat staff have challenged themselves with to develop an even stronger community at our school. These are in the form of the acronym “SAIL” which relates to our school wide theme of “Setting Sail”.

Stop the complaining
Assume the best in others
Ignore the comparisons
Learn to forgive

Unless you live on a deserted island, at some point you will do something that hurts someone else. We are human and in that humanness we can be selfish, angry, moody, envious, jealous, etc. Simply, by living in community we will be hurt and hurt others. For that reason we must be willing to forgive and have the courage to ask for forgiveness more often.

The problem is that we don’t want to forgive or ask for forgiveness. We tend to avoid it if possible and rarely deal maturely with this important part of living in community. If we know this is something important in having healthy relationships, why don’t we do it more often? In general, there are three reasons why and it relates to what we have to give up if we forgive someone:

  • We don’t want to give up the right to be mad at them.
  • We don’t want to give up the right to “punish” them for what they did.
  • We don’t want to give up the right to hurt them back in some way.

We also choose not to forgive or ask for forgiveness because of some misunderstandings of what forgiveness actually is. Forgiveness is simply a promise we make to the other person that I won’t let what you did to me come between us in anymore. It does not mean you have to forget that it ever happened or pretend that it did not hurt you. It does not take away what they did but it does mean that you will not hold it against them anymore. To do that is a decision and not an emotion. We tend to believe that we can’t forgive someone unless we feel like it. Feelings have nothing to do with it. Forgiveness is a decision. The ironic thing is that your emotions will eventually agree with your decision.

If we want to truly live in community, learning to forgive and having the courage to ask for forgiveness, is an important component. When you know you have done something that has hurt someone else, take the crucial step to ask “will you please forgive me?” and be ready to take the step of extending forgiveness to others as well. If we can do this as adults, our children will see it modeled in us, and then they will take this important life skill with them whenever and wherever they go in life.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.

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