Gangster Mentality

I love my job!  Teaching is the best profession out there!  I get to spend time with incredible kids all day long.  They complete my days!

My favorite part of my day is probably the “Read-Alouds”!  I get to read stories to my class by great authors, and discuss them with these children.  It is so much fun.  The kids get so into the books.

I was reading the book, “Titanic” to my grade 5 class one year, and in the book, Gordon Korman adds to his character repertoire, ‘The Golhooleys”.  They are a gangster group and they are out for revenge against one of the main characters.

One of the passages in the book really grabbed my attention.  Gordon Korman writes:

“They had stolen from the notorious Gilhooleys.  And everyone knew the Gilhooleys never forgave anything”

Why would this grab my attention?  For many reasons.  I’m trying to teach these grade 5 students that everyone is human, we all make mistakes and that they have to learn to forgive people.  I don’t expect that my students all have to like each other, but they do have to learn to get along.  If you can’t forgive people…do people get along?

Think about how many times you have to forgive in life.  Take a marriage for example or any relationship.  The union of two different personalities for a lifetime…it’s almost inhuman when you really think about it.  But, just like forgiving a friend, you have to forgive your spouse as hard as that may be some days.  Or a family member who has done you wrong, taken advantage of you…family is family no matter what, and forgiving them is a must.

Life is going to give us situations that we have to decide if we want to forgive people or not.  This quote out of Gordon Korman’s book really made me see the light of forgiveness.  For all those people that struggle with forgiving…do you have this gangster mentality, like the Gilhooleys?

If you are carrying around anger, it is only hurting you.  It’s giving you unnecessary stress that is manifesting in your body and making your body weak.   It is not hurting the person that you are choosing not to forgive, it is hurting you.

Do you know how many times in the bible it talks to us about forgiveness?  When I googled it, I learned that it depends on which version of the bible you are using, because sometimes they use synonyms for forgiveness, like remission.  However I did learn from the blog, “Hearing God’s Voice”, that the word “Forgiveness” is used in the NIV bible exactly 14 times. Once in the Old Testament and 13 times in the New Testament.

The concept of forgiveness however, is discussed much more. For example the word “forgive” appears 42 times in the Old Testament and 33 times in the New Testament. The word “forgiven” appears 17 times in the Old Testament and 28 times in the New Testament.   Also it is cool to note that “forgiving” appears 6 times in the Old Testament and 1 time in the New.  That also doesn’t include all the times that it talks about not getting revenge on people, like Matthew 5:38-39.

This is a huge part of our lives as  human and a Christians, but so many of us, including Christians struggle with it.  Why?  Because of our Egos.  We don’t like the fact that we have been hurt, betrayed or mistreated so we bottle this anger up.  We want to protect ourselves from being hurt again.  It’s normal…but it’s not what God wants from us, and he makes that quite clear many times.  Mark 11:25 states, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Do you want to have a gangster mentality or a Christian one?  The choice is yours…choice the hard one…forgiveness, and watch all the benefits you will receive from our heavenly father.