20 Jan 2011

Looking past the Offense

Submitted by Stephen Winters

Tonight my son was playing with our new 2 1/2 month old puppy. I think that my son may have played a little rough with the puppy because the puppy either bit or clawed my 12 year old son. I didn't see it happen, but my son came and showed me the scratch, which was about 3 or 4 inches long, on his arm.

As I thought back about this incident it would be very easy to see the dog as being an offender (biting or clawing, etc.) and to begin to treat the dog as a bad dog. This would become a kind of self-fullfilling prophecy. When you treat an animal, or even a person, as a bad personality, then it could easily drive it into being that kind of person/animal. This is where the power of forgiveness comes into play.

Forgiveness is not looking at the "offender" as evil, or a sinner, or as an offender. But it is looking past the offence to see the person or animal as a person of value. It is looking at the person as who they will become. It is also treating it with respect and dignity, honoring the person and helping him to become who they were meant to be.

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