It wasn’t so very long ago, that we ourselves experienced the weight of what it feels to be attacked by terrorists. Today we remember Paris, France, as they mourn the loss of their own. Let us pray for peace and an end to the violence that has become an infectious disease. Let us teach our children how to show peace in our daily lives among friends and siblings. How do you teach peace? By teaching forgiveness, meekness, patience, self-control, sensitivity, deference, and above all tolerance. Here is how we can practice forgiveness and tolerance.
Forgiveness: Forgiveness is defined as “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” It’s important to realize that forgiveness is not an emotion, it’s an act of the will; an act of love. We need to teach children that first of all forgiving does not mean forgetting the wrong that was done. That’s denial. And forgiving doesn’t mean excusing the wrong or saying it doesn’t matter. Forgiveness instead says, “I know what you did. It hurt. But I won’t hold it against you.” We also need to teach that forgiveness is letting go of your “right” to be right. It means offering up your anger, letting go of your “right” to revenge – and leaving justice to God. From the cross, Jesus forgave people who had not repented and maybe never would. We must do the same.
Tolerance: Tolerance is defined as “the ability or willingness to tolerate (allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.” How incredible this world would be if we learned to tolerate one another’s personal ideas and beliefs. Husbands and wives would have a new respect for one another, politicians would work together, children wouldn’t fight, there would be no terrorist!! We should always respect one another’s opinions, ideas, and beliefs. Does this mean that we believe them? Of course not, but we must respect them. Let’s say, your children are fighting over whose daddy is more important. We teach them to say, “I understand that you think your daddy is very important and he is! But I also think that my daddy is very important! So although I don’t agree, I respect you for believing that your dad is more important, and I will not force you or expect you to change your opinion.” These same principles apply to every situation that you find yourself not agreeing with those around you. Everyone including you is entitled to his or her opinion, beliefs, or ideas. And let us not forget to teach our children that it’s okay if someone does not believe what you believe. If we tolerate one another, then we will be respecting one another, and there will be no reason for shooting someone because they made you mad or bullying someone because they look or act or talk differently, or sending suicide bombers into a concert hall because they are of a different faith.