The other day I was angry with Bethel and I had to ask her forgiveness. I didn’t want to do it.
Part of me argued that if I asked forgiveness, then she would forget about the fact that she was in the wrong. Another part argued that it probably wouldn’t make a difference, and that she probably wouldn’t notice anyway. I think those were lies I was telling myself.
So I tried to explain that mommy was angry and that was wrong. I asked her to forgive me. She didn’t understand and tearfully repeated after me, “Will you forgive me for being angry?” I stopped and told her that mommy sinned. I asked again, and she again repeated “Will you forgive mommy for being angry?”
Finally she got it. I wonder if asking forgiveness of my children will always be this hard. It seems to remind me that I need more humility.
Jay Younts says
These are just thoughts from afar, but perhaps they may help.
In child rearing, we don’t want our children to come to where we are. We want to take our children to where we want to go – the cross. God is always present with us and with our relationships with our children. When you sin against your child it is primarily against God and only secondarily against your child. When you look at the face of Christ in Scripture, knowing that your sins have been fully forgiven, it should help to seek the forgiveness from your children. Your daughter possibly sensed your internal struggle and this is probably why it was difficult for her to respond to you.
The joyful reality that we have complete forgiveness and mercy in Christ needs to flow from us to our children. It is a joy and a privilege to seek forgiveness from our children. This is a way of showing them our love and gratitude for what Christ accomplished for our us. We want our children to joyfully come to Christ to know the power of mercy and forgiveness. This is the point of Matthew 18:23-35.
When my children were little, there were more days than not when I sought their forgiveness for my sins of anger or impatience or unkindness, etc. I believe this actually served to establish my authority rather than diminish it.
Parenting is hard stuff, this why we need to turn to Christ.
Jay– Thank you for this post. I love this statement: “In child rearing, we don’t want our children to come to where we are. We want to take our children to where we want to go– the cross.” Hurray for God’s grace. I am so glad that I don’t have to be the perfect Holy Spirit for my children.