I don’t want to sin against my kids. But I do. I don’t want to sin in front of my kids. But again, I do.
The Father in his kindness has provided a way for the mama who is in Christ to point her kids to His goodness, even as she sins in front of them: through the confession of her sins to her kids.
Apologizing to our kids isn’t always easy. There are many reasons for that. Some of them may even be rooted in suffering. Maybe you grew up in a home where that wasn’t modeled. Maybe when you apologized, it was used against you. Maybe your parents were never wrong and you were always considered as the one at fault. You learned to protect yourself from that hurt by never accepting that you could possibly be wrong. Or, because of abuse in your life, you have only experienced the dark side of being vulnerable. If that is your story, I am so sorry.
The truth is confessing sin doesn’t come naturally to anyone. Admitting we are wrong can make you feel unsafe. It can also be offensive to a proud heart.
And yet the truth is even now as saints, we still sin. And when we do, not only are we to confess our sins to the Lord, but He also commands us to confess our sins to another (James 5: 16).
Forgiving one another is a mark of life in community (Ephesians 4: 32). People that belong to each other speak truth to one another (Eph. 4: 25), including the truth about our neediness, our sins and the deep joy of having a Savior that rescues us continually.
This truth-telling is an important part of our discipleship as parents. We can’t teach our kids to treasure the gospel, if they don’t see us treasuring it and confessing our own need of grace.
So where do we find help to become moms who regularly apologize to their kids? Well, as with every single part of our lives, our oneness with Christ has a decisive impact on the spiritual discipline of confessing our sins to our family.
Here are three ways our union with Christ is both our hope and help in that:
First, our oneness with Christ is what actually enables us to apologize.
The old self can never humble himself in true repentance before the Lord because she is a slave to pride and self righteousness. The old self is constantly serving other masters: the idol of always being right, the idol of protecting her reputation and image in front of her kids, and the idol of demanding respect from her children.
But, mama, I have the best news! You are not in the old man anymore. You are in Christ (Col. 3: 1-4). He has made you completely new and in doing that, He has given you a new default. Now, dear sister, you are free.
Even if asking for forgiveness is not natural to you, even if it is hard because of suffering and trauma in your life, your oneness with Christ gives you wild hope. You are not limited by what comes naturally to the old self or by how you learned to cope with hurt…because now, as a new creation, you live supernaturally by faith in the Son of God.
You live inside the humble Christ and He lives in you (Matthew 11: 28 cf Gal. 2: 20). Consider his humility for a moment. He who never sinned and who had all authority in heaven, submitted himself to do God’s will. He only did what the Father wanted, and spoke only the words His Father gave him (John 12: 49).
The one who never needed to apologize was made sin by God, so we could become His righteousness (2 Cor. 5: 21). And then He drank the scalding cup of the wrath of God on our behalf.
In His humility, Christ didn’t justify or vindicate himself but trusted the Spirit to do it (2 Tim. 3: 16). He never sought his own glory, but lived and sacrificed for the glory of Another – the glory of His Father (Phil. 2: 11).
The Spirit of that shockingly humble Christ is in you. In Him and through Him, by faith, you are free to apologize, free to confess, free to be unashamedly dependent.
Second, our oneness with Christ provides the rest and safety we need to apologize.
When your Father rescued you, you tasted the sweetness of His forgiveness. And since then you continue to experience the depth of his forgiveness every time you come to him. You know your Father knows you perfectly, including all your sins. And yet, there is nothing scary about His having that kind of knowledge about you. Your Father placed you inside Jesus and His love forever. In Him, you are coming to your kids as a beloved daughter, in whom her Father is always deeply pleased. There is no judgement left, no punishment to fear (Rom. 8).
Christ is your master. But he doesn’t demand something from you that He didn’t first submit himself to. He has met his own demands and has provided for you through His own obedience. His humility has given you rest (Matt. 11: 28). You can humble yourself before your kids, not as a way to gain or prove anything to your Father. But as someone who has been given everything in Christ.
Thirdly, our oneness with Christ enables us to apologize with hope.
The mama who is in Christ knows she never gets what she deserves, so she doesn’t despair when she fails. She doesn’t have to pretend (to herself or before others) that she has it all together, because that is not where her hope is.
Her trust is in her Father’s character. She is able to not only say, “I am so sorry for my anger and how I was ruled by it,” but also, “Honey, I am so sorry I failed to show you how patient and slow to anger God is. He is so much better than me. He never fails us. He is always trustworthy. Let’s go to Him together for grace.”
She knows He works in her kids in spite of her. She doesn’t wallow in her sin nor cries hopelessly as someone who needs to make up for her faults. She trusts His grace to redeem all her efforts and work through them far more than anything she could do on her own.
The mama who is in Christ knows she is not stuck in her sin because Christ already made her new. She knows He always finishes what He starts, and so even when she seems to apologize for the same thing over and over again, she is confident. Moreover, she knows He has already sanctified her real lasting self even as he is still sanctifying her in time and space (Hebrews 10: 14).
Dear mama, we sin every day. But praise God, our oneness with Christ enables us to be both supernaturally humble and supernaturally hopeful. In Christ we are free. Free to apologize.
Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash