By Ashley Vaughan
Parenting is hard, I get it.
You are just living your life … and then you wake up one day, look at the little faces gathered around you and suddenly realize you and your spouse are outnumbered!
You’ve heard that there is strength in numbers, and that little children can probably smell fear (or is that bees?). So you put a bold face on, grit your teeth, and determine to never — under any circumstances — show any weakness to your children. If they see weakness, they’ll exploit it, and then you’ll have a mutiny on your hands.
And how else are you supposed to lead and shape these little hearts? Leaders who are never questioned are the ones who exude the most strength … right?
However, you can’t live with someone day in and day out and not see their flaws, their sinful tendencies, and mistakes. So no matter how hard you try, you daily fall short, you often sin against your children. And they know it.
I know what you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, I sin against my kids, but I can never apologize to them. That would show weakness, and then they’d never respect me again!”
But I’ve learned that that is a lie straight from the pit of hell. When your kids see you mess up or sin, and you don’t confess it to them and ask their forgiveness, it doesn’t make your sin any less real. Instead, your kids see you as a hypocrite, making them confess their sins while claiming to be sinless yourself. And the damage this unconfessed sin will wreak in your relationships with your children is devastating.
So what does the Bible have to say about this? The first passage that comes to mind is Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3–5 ESV) [emphasis mine]
Now, Jesus was perfect, and certainly never sinned and needed to ask someone’s forgiveness. However, look at the pattern of leadership He is giving us here. Knowing full well that He was the Almighty God — and He could snap His fingers and make someone else clean everyone’s feet, or even with a word make them instantly clean with no elbow grease needed — He chose to take the place of the lowest servant and do the undesirable task of serving His disciples in one of the most menial ways possible.
Talk about humility. But does Jesus humbling Himself in this way make us respect Him less … or more?
The same is true in parenting. When you own up to your mistakes and sins to your children and ask their forgiveness, you are a beautiful reflection of the humility our Savior modeled. Beyond that, you are modeling for them what repentance for a Christian should look like in the light of the Gospel — a lesson they will have need of learning and practicing the rest of their lives.
For a biblical, practical how-to for confessing sin (so it doesn’t turn into a, “Sure I sinned, but look how you made me sin” conversation), check out this short blog article.
So how can we successfully lead our kids? By looking to the example of our Savior, and being humble.
(Did you know that the Homeschool Parenting Summit 2.0 is happening October 16–21? Sign up here and get free access to over 20+ sessions, a free swag bag, and a virtual exhibit hall. You are sure to come away encouraged and equipped to lead your family well.)