Nikki M., age 12

Cabin: Evergreen

“Love thine enemy as thyself.”  I think this quote perfectly describes forgiveness.  You should love your enemy like yourself because they are a perfect reflection of God, like you.  You should forgive them for any wrong they have done, like you should forgive yourself.  Well, before I get into self-forgiveness, let me explain about forgiveness first.  A definition of forgiveness is, “clearing the record of those who have wronged you and not holding a grudge”.  So you shouldn’t hold a grudge against an enemy, or even a friend, if they did something bad to you.  You should see the true selfhood of that person and their perfect reflection of God.   I know a question you may have by listening to this is “why should I forgive someone if they did something bad?”  And this is a good question.  I know it can be very hard to forgive, but it is definitely worth doing it, whether it is a good friend, family member, or enemy.  You wouldn’t want to lose a close friend or miss an opportunity to make a new one by not forgiving someone.  At home, my brother and I fight a lot.  It’s not fun for either of us because we end up getting mad at each other and getting in trouble.  My grandma told me that I should try to get along with my brother because he will be my best friend in life, and he is my family.  After thinking about this, I want to get along better with him when I get home.

Forgiveness does not just apply to family, friends and enemies.  It also can apply to yourself.  Let’s say you mess up on a test and get a bad grade.  Are you going to hate yourself, give up on tests and school, and be miserable?  Or are you going to say, “It’s alright, it’s just one test, so maybe I need to study harder for the next one. God gives me all the knowledge I need to take tests.”  That’s just one example of self-forgiveness.  I believe you should always forgive yourself if you mess up because…well, what are you going to do if you don’t?  And we are all perfect children of God, right?  God expresses forgiveness and that means we can too. One person I think of is Jesus.  He healed everyone, forgave people for their sins, and never stopped spreading the word of God. He said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;…so persecuted they the prophets before you.”  What I think Jesus meant by this was when you are doing good, and people try to stop you, don’t let them.  If they tease you, don’t let that stop you.  If they try to make you do the wrong thing, don’t let them.  Jesus forgave the Pharisees every time they tried to stop him from spreading the word of God.  They said he was breaking the laws, and other excuses.  They made him go on the cross.  But he always forgave them for whatever they did.  We can follow his example today by forgiving others, and even ourselves.

I think forgiveness is a great quality to have, and to improve on.  Think about all the little ways we express forgiveness at camp.  Maybe your cabin-mate is a little grumpy in the morning.  Or maybe someone hits you with a ball in bombardment.  I would forgive them instantly and I know others would too.  I talked to a girl about the Challenge, and she said they forgive each other all the time.  And that’s the thing that is so great about camp.  We see forgiveness expressed in so may little and big ways that makes it great as a whole.  I want to tell you the definition of forgiveness one more time. Forgiveness is clearing the record of those who have wronged you and not holding a grudge.