Consider past experiences when someone has offended you. There are likely several of these situations from childhood and beyond where someone has offended you. Most likely your first memories of these experiences occured with your family as one of your siblings, or perhaps even your parents did something that hurt your feelings. It is likely that most of these experiences are long forgotten now, as time has elapsed, and the refinement of growing up has brushed over and erased these memories from your mind. This is good, because it shows that forgiveness is a part of who you are and that you are capable of moving on from experiences that have caused you sadness.
There may be some experiences of the past that remain in your mind today, and that still stir unpleasant memories and perhaps even resentment. There are some things that for whatever reason we perceive as more serious than others, and these are the ones that most commonly remain in our minds. Even in the loving, good intentions of families there can be moments of inexcusable foolishness that leads to wounded feelings and the formation of grudges.
It is important for families to recognize that from time to time offenses will be made, both great and small, but that forgiving must be an integral component of a family's values. Of course it is important to teach children to get along, and to avoid treating each other in ways that cause offense to be taken, but there is not getting around it...everyone in a family will offend each other from time to time. Learning to forgive one another as a family is one of the most important lessons that can be taught to children, as this lesson will be used at school, among friends, and in every aspect of their lives as they grow and mature. What your teach your children about forgiveness in your home will largely determine how they interact with others in the future, and will play a part in the interactions they have with future spouses and children of their own.
There are few lessons you can offer your children that will be more beneficial than treating others with respect, and to forgiving others who have offended them. Forgiveness is a lesson that begins in youth, but that continues to evolve through time and experience. Teaching your children about forgiveness while they are young will allow your family to understand one another more completely, and help your children to forgive others who offend them in different ways as they mature through the vastness of life's experiences.
As a family it is important to be aware of resentment and problems that can lead to grudges. Grudges and animosity have the potential to drive wedges between family members, as well as harm them physically and emotionally. Some of the harmful effects of resentment and the need for forgiveness are discussed in the article, "How to Forgive." This article also addresses the vital need to choose to forgive others. There is no avoiding contention in a family from time to time, but practicing forgiveness, not only believing in forgiveness, but actually forgiving our families can help us all as families and as a world to be happier, healthier, and more accepting of one another.