Modeling Forgiveness for Your Children

by Amy Wages

Daughter hugging her momPhoto Source

She had done something careless, and I responded out of my flesh. YOU know what I mean. Sometimes your kids do things, whether in disobedience or by being purely childish, and you want to blow your lid!!

This time it was a mistake made by a three-year-old. It wasn’t even blatant disobedience. But my lack of sleep and the monotony of these kinds of incidents got the best of me. My tone was at a level she knew meant trouble. I got on to her out of frustration and raised my voice to show my disappointment…and she felt ashamed. Big tears rolled down as her hands met her face to cover her emotions. I had broken her little heart!!

It’s not that I meant to! I love my children to the moon and back, and try my best to display self-control when it’s time to discipline. But sometimes my ugly, worn out flesh takes over, and I find myself in a predicament. I have now become the “offender” and she has become the “offended.”

It was in that moment that I had a choice to make. I could brush off the fact that my correction of her was less than ideal, (after all, I’m the adult and she needed to learn, right?!?) or I could choose the higher road. I could admit to myself, and to her, that I had not responded appropriately, and ask her for forgiveness.

Gulp. Pride swallowing. I’ve been her hero and model since birth and now it’s time to let her know the truth that mommy is a human being too, prone to mistakes?

Exactly. Because the biggest desire of my heart was for her to recognize her own sinfulness and one day be forgiven by the One who gave her life on this earth, and ultimately gives eternal life to those who repent and believe in Him.

If I couldn’t begin to model for her the picture of asking forgiveness, what kind of example would I be setting for her to draw upon when it came time for her to ask her heavenly Father for forgiveness — forgiveness that would bathe her in the cleansing blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

So I got down on my knees, on her level, looked her in the eyes, and told her I had not responded correctly. I taught her about her childish mistake, but this time I used the correct tone. And I asked her if she could forgive mommy.

Now you never know what a three-year-old may say. It might be “no,” or “I’ll think about it,” (Hint, I may have heard that at some point!) but on this occasion she said “yes.” We hugged, the relationship was restored, and she went on her little way in peace — the same peace that washed over me.

That’s the picture I want my kids to have — freedom to ask forgiveness and have the relationship mended. What better way to point them to our Father who redeems and restores us when we seek forgiveness as sinners in need of a Savior? I also want my children to freely forgive others. When a grudge is held, there’s a good chance bitterness can creep in and cause further damage. If you have little ones, let them see you live a life of forgiveness from an early age and the process will feel more natural to them. If your kids are older, and you haven’t modeled forgiveness, it’s never too late to start! It may take a little pride swallowing, but you must be the one to set the example and begin asking forgiveness when needed.

So there you have it! I made a mistake, and, unfortunately, I do quite a bit as a mom! But I quickly work to resolve an offense with my children. As a result, they are growing in their ability to forgive others and ask forgiveness for offenses they have made. This will no doubt be a long process, because the reality is, it isn’t very easy for any of us, is it? But with the Lord’s guidance I am trusting Him to help develop this crucial fruit in their lives. How can we harbor unforgiveness in light of all we have been forgiven ourselves?

We as mommas are not, and never will be, perfect. Only Jesus accomplished perfection. But we can be blameless by seeking forgiveness and mending mistakes. Pray to our Father and ask Him to come alongside you in this task. He is faithful and will guide you!!

“For You, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You,” Psalms 86:5.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteouness,” 1 John 1:9.

 Amy Wages

 

*What are ways your family practices forgiveness in the home? Please leave your comments below! 

*Do you want to make sure you don’t miss a Missional Motherhood post in the future? You can subscribe via e-mail on the top right of this page, or follow us on Bloglovin‘! 

Leave a Reply