parental sin

Parental Sin: Modeling Repentance for Your Children

I must admit the idea of generational sin has made me both angry and terrified. First, angry because I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s sin, and second, terrified because of the overwhelming guilt I would feel causing someone else to sin. The truth is that we all sin and our children are often witnesses to our sin. They also remember our sins quite clearly! I can attest to that as a parent of adult children. But they also remember our repentance.

About ten years ago, I was in the store with my kids who were around nine and 12 years old at the time. The week had been unusually busy, I was overwhelmed and at the end of my rope. I remember we needed to pick up some pictures that needed proof of license disclosure, and I had forgotten the form at home. Yes, this was pre-electronic everything days. The thought of having to go all the way home and come back another time put me over the limit. So, I tried to convince the attendant to let it slide. I and the kids were in the pictures, and why would I have had access to the digital files if I couldn’t print them, right? Wrong. The attendant stood firm even after I gave her the riot act and was less than amicable. A typically congenial person, my kids were looking downcast through the entire exchange. Who was this woman that had possessed their normally nice and gracious mother? Why was she being rude and mean? They had no idea what had come over their mother. We left empty-handed.

When we got home and I had some time to settle down, I felt deep guilt. The poor attendant was only following the rules and I verbally abused her. I found my form and told the kids that I was going to go back up to the store and apologize to her. I didn’t take the kids with me the second time around, but I remember conversing with my daughter a few years later and she remembered the incident. She remembered my asking for forgiveness. I told her that since that time, I never speak like that to attendants, regardless of the circumstances. I may have to hold them accountable, but never in a demeaning way or for things out of their control. I repented. Not only did I ask forgiveness, I also turned away from that behavior.

Our children learn from our examples. While those examples include sin, they also include obedience and repentance. It is never too late to set a Godly example for our children. I regularly have conversations with my adult children about things for which I have repented. Much of my behavior while a young parent stemmed from not understanding God’s truth. Many examples I set for my children weren’t Godly, socially acceptable, but not Godly. My oldest is 25 and my youngest is 22. I will continue to set an example for them as long as I am breathing. With God’s help, I can set a good one.

How are you modeling Godly living for your children or grandchildren?

Contributed by Liz Hunt

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