“We need to remember that repentance is not just about being sorry; it’s about identifying a wrong that we have done, having genuine remorse for the action, and then developing a heart that turns away from that action.”
“I forgive you.” I don’t think that there are three words that matter more to me when I have wronged someone, especially my wife and kids. As much as those words mean to me, however, the path to repenting and asking for that forgiveness usually turns out to be a very long, arduous road for me. Tracie mentioned early in the chapter that she hates to admit when she is wrong. Well, we are cut from the same cloth. If I hurt someone, my reaction upon it being pointed out, or the realization hitting me without outside influence is not to stop where I’m at and repent, seeking forgiveness. My go-to is always explaining myself, clarifying that my intention wasn’t to cause hurt. That go-to is just the beginning. I will argue for hours that what I said or did was misperceived and try to shift blame. I have a very unrepentant heart. That’s a hard thing to type and admit. I can look back over my almost 13 years of marriage and see hours upon hours of time wasted because of my selfish, unrepentant heart. I know that I have hurt someone, I choose to justify my actions rather than acknowledge the hurt I have caused. Jesus continues to work this in me and it is a major area of struggle in my life.
I say all of that to get to this. This is the example that I have set for my kids so far in their lives, and it shows in their reactions to sin confrontation in their own lives. There are things in life that are foundational to who we raise our kids to be, and repentance is one of those.
My wife is amazing, and she has never allowed me or our kids to simply say “it’s ok” when they’re wronged. It has always been “I forgive you”. The bottom line is words mean things. “It’s ok” dismisses what was done, “I forgive you” shows a conscious decision to acknowledge what was done, process it, and choose to forgive. This is what I want my kids to see and hold to. I want them to see that when I’m having a day when my patience and temper are short, I allow Jesus to work in my heart and seek their forgiveness.
On the flip side, I want them to see that when their having the same kind of day, and they repent, forgiveness is abounding from me to them just as it is from Jesus to me. I am thankful for the grace and forgiveness I am shown on a daily basis from our Creator. I want to do everything I can to be an example to my family of the same.
“Repentance takes a mindful act of thinking about our actions, feeling regret for them, and making an honest attempt to not repeat them. “
We are rather late in this entry. To be totally honest, Dad turned his in two weeks ago and I am just now getting to the point that I can put this chapter and my Humility-spurned actions into words. I think I read this chapter (really read it not just a read through) 5-6 weeks ago. I read it at a time when I was really struggling with our eldest and some abnormal work ethic choices our smart, wonderful child was making (more like not smart and wonderful choices). I was so ANGRY on the inside and that anger came bubbling over more than once.
At the height of my internal and external temper tantrums, I began to read through and work through the chapter on Humility. The first pass-through of the chapter had me on my knees at my bed in tears, begging God to forgive my prideful and angry heart toward by beautiful child. My next step was to confess to a dear friend who constantly lifts my Family up in prayer. There’s power in confession. Then it was time to confess to my child.
The amazing thing about confessing to her was that in that confession, I believe the Lord truly opened her eyes to what I had been yelling at her for weeks (Praise God that He works in a much more loving manner than a loud, obnoxious, yelling mom!!). He created her very unique, very special and with a specific purpose that will require lots and lots of hard work. She has to be relentless in her pursuit. He gives us our journey in life, but we have to use our energy to walk it and traverse the oft-times rocky, hazardous terrain.
The changes we saw in her were immediate and she is now enjoying the fruits of her labor. I believe that had I chosen not to repent to her and not to confront my sin directly, her eyes would not have been opened to what the Lord was trying to show her.
It is no accident that the Lord has spent the last month working on the same issue with Dad and Mom. Humility has been an issue that has reared its head in our marriage as well. The thing is, when God has an area He wants to refine in our hearts, He most often doesn’t just miraculously take it away. His most successful course of action is to give us even more opportunities to exercise the lessons He is teaching us. Boy, can that be hard!!
We have noticed a huge difference in our children. We have witnessed our children’s hearts become more sensitive to correction and speedy to repent and a joy in forgiveness.
We’re coming upon our last chapter. Dad and Mom are both so very thankful for the lessons we have been taught. We have experienced so much growth, much of which has come through many trials. We’re both thankful for those trials. Tracie and Elizabeth’s book has been a wonderful guide, full of life-giving scripture and asking the truly difficult questions.