Here’s a quick practical thought that will apply to every relationship in your life.  Mainly because every relationship has conflict.

This thought is currently being put into practice daily, if not hourly, in my house.  Our strong-willed child has turned parenting into a battle of wills and each day the battle rages on (a little exaggeration there, but not much).  Right now, parenting feels more like breaking a wild horse than anything else.

This thought has been providing perspective and bringing clarity to what is truly important.  It’s helping me not only “train a child in the way they should go” (read into that – constant, tiresome discipline), but also fight for my child’s heart.  It reminds me this isn’t a battle of wills to win, but a fight for relationship.

So, here it is:

“Fun validates forgiveness because you can’t play with someone you haven’t forgiven.”

–Reggie Joiner

Some of you are underwhelmed.  I get that.  But I think this has profound implications.  Reggie goes on to say, “Parents should go do something fun as a way to show forgiveness.”  Many of you get this intuitively.  In fact, kids do this everyday with their friends – “I’m sorry.  It’s ok.  Let’s go play” and off they run.

As parents and adults, we sometimes don’t turn that corner as quickly as our kids do, but they have something to teach us here.

In the heat of the moment, after a showdown with my daughter, I gather myself and go to her to offer forgiveness.  That alone is powerful and often neglected.  But to follow that up with joy and play, does several things –

1.  Speaks to identity (you are loved and I still enjoy you)
2.  Pursues relationship over other options (compliance, authority, etc…)
3.  Validates the discipline.  (The discipline was necessary and done in love.  Forgiveness followed by fun/Joy proves that.)

The list could go on.

I’m talking about a child here, but you can apply this principle to any relationship.

How do you see this principle affecting your relationships? 

Is this just a helpful reminder?  Or do you have some habits in conflict that need to change and this is a great starting point? 

What would this look like to practice with your spouse or a family member?

Let’s make joy and forgiveness staples in our home.  So go ahead, make something fun happen today!