“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~1 John 1:9
Once upon a time, I became a mom.
They placed a beautiful, chubby, sweet baby boy in my arms and my life changed in an instant. Someone has said that having a child is like agreeing to let a bit of your heart run around outside your body, and isn’t that the truth? Being capable of such heights of intense, irrational, unquenchable love was almost shocking to me.
But there was more to it, this motherhood gig. Becoming a mom also revealed the depth of my own sinfulness.
Cries late in the night have caused me to want to roll over and pull a pillow over my head rather than answering the call. Pureed squash gleefully spread over a plastic tray and drying to a hardened, immovable mass has made me want to throw the tray out the window rather than clean it one. more. time. Angry faces and furrowed eyebrows, raised voices and the tell-tale bumps of rumbles after bedtime, arguments over chores and school work and privileges and responsibilities have drawn out everything in me I might try to stuff deep … Selfishness. Irritability. Laziness.
I was talking with an older, wiser mama who is very precious to me the other day and she made a statement that brought me up short:
“I have had to apologize to my child more often than to anyone else on the planet. I’ve had more opportunity to be sinful around her, and I’m always finding myself needing to say ‘I’m sorry’ one more time.”
Woah. It’s an awfully true statement, and one I had to take a minute to wrap my head around. Being fairly bad at apologies, I’m not sure I can say this is true of me … and yet, it ought to be.
How are you at apologizing to your kids, mama?
Apologizing means recognizing that we blow it. That we are human. That we’re all still stuck here on earth where we need sleep and caffeine to make it through a day and where a deficit of either can bring that day to its knees. It means admitting freely to our children that we are sinners in need of a savior, and that He is constantly, graciously, lovingly crafting us into His image … perfectly and instantly from His side–painstakingly, moment by moment from our own.
Somehow I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a definite connection between our ability to apologize to our children and our understanding of our position before the Lord.
Have we really acknowledged our need of Him? Not just mentally assented to His claim to be God or His offering of Himself on the cross; but a full recognition of the fact that each one of us is personally responsible for having put Him there?
Do we understand that God the Father so loved us before the foundation of the world that He sent His Son to come and live a perfect life, to bleed and die for us, to rise again and overcome death and the grave and all the fear that comes with it, so that sin might be defeated in our lives and we might walk in fellowship with Him forever?
Getting a grip on that truth makes it easier for me to stand before my child and say … “Honey, I am so sorry I raised my voice at you. I’m sorry I was angry that you interrupted my phone call, and I was being selfish. Would you please forgive me? Mommy messes up sometimes and I am so glad you will still love me! Would you pray with me as I ask God to forgive me, too?” Our older kids need to hear it, too … “Can you forgive me, hun, for speaking to you that way? I shouldn’t be telling you what to do right now. I need to do a better job of respecting your wishes and your right to run your own life. Please forgive me– and pray for me, will you?”
Modeling that sort of give-and-take relationship with our children will not only give them a wonderful foundation for the reality of their own future relationships with others, but also let them know that sin doesn’t need to be hidden, mistakes don’t last forever, and bitterness is not to be harbored.
Is there anyone you might need to apologize to, today? Now’s the time.