Would you rather ask your child for forgiveness when you’ve messed up or eat a piece of pizza out of a trashcan at a public park? Neither seem pleasant at the time. One of these however does have short term as well as eternal benefits. Jacob reminds us why apologizing is well worth the effort.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Some say they would rather ask for forgiveness than for permission. When it comes down to it, however, it seems that most people opt out of asking for either one! Children, being human and all, probably lean toward the same behavior.
What’s the best way to teach our kids to ask for forgiveness? Show them!
Let’s talk about the value in kids experiencing parents asking forgiveness from others and from the kids when the parent has done wrong.
- A foundation for humility. When a child watches a parent apologize for doing wrong their foundation for humility is strengthened significantly. Someone who grew up watching humble parents will be more likely to accept responsibility when they have done wrong. The child’s perception of themselves can be formed around the understanding that they, like their parents, are flawed and that there is a productive way to handle situations when those flaws are revealed. This biblical worldview of self can effectively be established when parents show their kids firsthand what repentance from sin looks like.
- They see Jesus in you instead of just seeing you. This should be every Christian parents’ greatest aspiration—to show their child Jesus! God’s word teaches Jesus showing His power in the midst of human weakness. Seeking forgiveness from others is one of the most practical ways to let this process take place. Children who have forgiveness-seeking parents get a front row seat to the glory of Jesus Himself, for true humility only comes from Him. What greater joy can a parent have than to know their humility encourages their children to love Jesus more?
- Your relationship will grow. To ask forgiveness is to ask for healing in a hurting relationship. Whatever wound the victim may have received begins to heal and trust begins to grow. Genuine reconciliation is only possible with the forgiveness of sin. This is the reason mankind and God can be in relationship in the first place! Due to God’s initiation of forgiveness, parents can experience the same reconciling power with their children upon asking forgiveness.
Owning our sin and asking for forgiveness is hard! Especially when it is our own child we have hurt. This is a great practice, however, in order to raise a child who sees Jesus clearly, who is humble, and who loves their mom and dad more because of their exemplified humility.
Your mom and dad are not perfect people. That sounds crazy, right?! When your parent has done something that hurt you or made you feel bad, how would you like for them to handle that? If/when they ask your forgiveness will you be ready and willing to forgive them?