This is the second article in the series: Before the Teen Years. If you missed the first one, or the post 8 Things that Parents Can Do Now to Shape the Teenage Years that sparked this series they are linked at the bottom.
Today I want to focus on #2 in my list of eight. I said: “Live redemptively in your home. This means owning up to your sin instead of hiding it, dismissing it or justifying it. Let your kids hear you confess and ask for forgiveness. Tell them how unlike Jesus you are, which is why we need him. When they know mom and dad need a Savior, it will help them see their own need to live dependently on Jesus.”
Owning Up to Our Sin
Why is this so hard? Not just in front of our kids, but with our spouses, friends and in all other relationships?
My husband likes to say the problem is not that we sin, it’s what we do with our sin. Can you imagine how much better our relationships would be simply by how we handle our sin? But fear keeps us from living redemptively. (By “redemptively,” I mean living out the gospel with one another; confession, repentance, grace, forgiveness – repeat!)
We fear what others will think of us if they see our sin, detect our false gods or the true motives behind what we say and do. So we deny it, justify it, or flat out ignore it. Believing they’ll actually think better of us if we act like it’s not there is absurd! Seriously, think about it: If you’ve seen my sin but instead of me confessing and asking for forgiveness I self-justify, won’t you be more bothered than had I humbly owned up to it? So why are we living delusional – avoiding conflict and true heart conversations? And in doing so we are teaching (inadvertently, of course) our kids to do the same.
Letting Your Kids See You Need Jesus
How different things could be if your kids and spouse see you as a regular repenter. When we put our sin on the table to deal honestly with it, we not only move the conversations in our homes from surface-level to the heart, but we show our kids by word and deed we are sinners in need of Jesus.
If this is the message we want them to embrace, I can tell you they need to see it applies to you, too. Otherwise, do you think they will feel free to divulge what’s really going on in their heart? Nope. Not unless they see YOU are in the same boat.
The best part of them seeing you are not Jesus is the opportunity to tell them again and again why you need him. Jesus is everything for you that you are not. Where you have sinned, he met the standard perfectly. So for all the times you’ve lost your patience and lashed out in anger at your kids, Jesus never lost his patience or acted sinfully in his anger. And because he was perfect for you, God views you according to his record!
This is the good news of the gospel that is often left off, but it is vital to understanding that for the believer our sin does not cancel out God’s love. We are at the same time more sinful that we even realize and more deeply loved than we can grasp. This is our true condition that both we, and our kids, should live freely in.
What this would look like is: your kids in their sin knowing they can go to you, and to God with no shame or fear of rejection. Can you imagine how this would help in the teen years and beyond? How this would change the dynamics in your family? How this would shape their future relationships?
Living redemptively in our homes starts with you acknowledging your sin. Next post we’ll talk about shepherding their hearts rather than solely focusing on behavior and I can guarantee how you handle your sin will absolutely effect how they take correction when it comes to their sin. So stay posted for more in this series…
For previous posts in this mini-series: Before the Teen Years: Getting to the Heart of Sin with Our Kids 8 Things that Parents Can Do Now to Shape the Teenage Years