Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
Sometimes we are the offended and other times we are the offender. This comes with the messiness of humanity. At times, we all fail to reflect Christ’s heart in our relationships, especially with our children. And our unwillingness to ask for forgiveness can create a wedge in this important relationship.
While extending forgiveness to someone who wronged us is extremely challenging, being in the position to have to ask your own children for forgiveness can be just as humbling. Trust me I know.
A costly decision waits with our pride hanging in the balance. Pride is what stops us from admitting we were wrong and tempts us to justify our actions. Pride forces us to stand tall, while asking for forgiveness brings us to our knees in humility.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m an expert at rationalizing my behavior. I can justify my actions with the best of them. Can anyone blame me for losing my temper with my kids? After all, they disrespected me, spoke back, weren’t paying attention, failed to listen or any of the other thousand excuses I can rattle off if you have the time to listen.
Due to the difficulty of being a parent, it’s very easy to pinpoint all the ways we think our children have wronged us. They didn’t put their shoes away, they left marker stains on the furniture, they broke curfew or they disregarded our advice on tough choices they needed to make.
On a daily basis, we are reminded that our children aren’t perfect. But, here’s the thing, neither are we as parents. No one is spotless.
So, why is our willingness to ask for forgiveness such a necessary tool for us as parents? By owning up to our own sin, mistakes and failures, we are modeling forgiveness to our children. And because we model it, our children will be more likely to exhibit these qualities when they get older.
The next generation needs to know that forgiveness is the only thing strong enough to restore a relationship. The act of forgiveness has the power to heal any wound.
Teaching about forgiveness is one thing. Being able to serve as a living example of it is quite another. Our children learn about forgiveness first from us.
- How are you modeling forgiveness in your relationships?
- In what relationships do you need to seek forgiveness?
God, open my eyes to the places where I’ve caused others pain. Help me to see those moments when I didn’t reflect Your heart in my relationships. But, don’t allow me to stay there. Give me the courage to lay my pride down and ask forgiveness to those I’ve offended and hurt. May Your grace help restore these relationships. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.