3 Reasons We Must Ask Our Kids to Forgive Us
There are no perfect parents. We all know this, right? Parenting is so hard. I ask myself if I’m making the right decision about something involving my kids at least five times a day. I get frustrated with my kids at least 300 times a day. When it comes to my frustration with my kids and how it’s expressed, the fact of the matter is sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I’m the sinner and they are the ones being sinned against. Sometimes I need to tell them I’m sorry and ask their forgiveness.
We all know we’re not perfect, but because of the parent-child relationship I fear that sometimes I act like I’m perfect. Sometimes I don’t stop to consider that my frustration or annoyance with my kids is wrong on my part and not on theirs. I’m the one with the power. I’m the one who gets to tell them what right and wrong is. But sometimes my reaction can be because I’m tired or distracted and not because they genuinely disobeyed purposefully.
Why Must Parents Repent?
Repenting to our children is powerful and necessary. First it communicates to our kids that mom and dad are sinners in need of Jesus just as much as they are. Sometimes as parents we must make hard decisions and stand behind them and look confident, cool, and collected. But sometimes, we must admit our failures to our children and ask their forgiveness. Our kids must know that we need Jesus just as much as them. They must see us lead by example. If we desire repentant children then we must be repentant parents.
Second, repenting to our children lets them know that we understand that they will mess up and it’s safe to be honest and confess it. We aren’t perfect parents and we don’t have perfect kids. My kids will make mistakes in life and I would much rather they feel comfortable telling me because they know I mess up too than hiding it and possibly making a bad situation worse because they don’t know who to go to. If I repent to my children and we have opportunity to talk about my failures and seek reconciliation and forgiveness then I hope it will let them know I always desire reconciliation and forgiveness when they mess up.
Third, repenting to your children creates opportunities to share the gospel with them. We should be pointing our kids to Christ with all the opportunities being in a family affords. Repentance is a prime one. When I ask my kids to forgive me it lets them know that I am not a perfect dad, but it also gives me opportunity to share with them that there is a perfect Father. He won’t ever let them down, make the wrong decision, or react in a wrong way. He will never leave or forsake them. He will give them words of life. He will adopt them and love them with a perfect love that I’m incapable of loving them with. If in my repentance, I’m not showing my kids my need for Jesus’ grace and theirs then I am doing it wrong.
It’s hard to admit we’re wrong. It’s hard to ask for forgiveness. But there is a lot at stake here. I don’t want to ever communicate to my kids that I’m perfect. I don’t want them to think I have it all together. I want them to see a weak man held up by a great God. I want them to see a man who will humbly admit he was wrong even to his children, but who loves reconciliation and isn’t afraid to ask for forgiveness. I want them to see an imperfect father who loves his children enough to point them to the true and better Father. And maybe… just maybe… one day they’ll teach their kids the same thing.