As parents we have the duty to teach our children right from wrong. And with that comes the need to teach the importance of repentance; genuine, heart-felt repentance. If we are truly succeeding in raising our children in the ways of the Lord, we will see genuine repentance as a fruit in their daily lives. We must not be content to merely change their outward behavior, we must go deeper into their heart.
“…First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26)
God is not looking for us to raise picture perfect children who can simply “behave.” He is looking for us to raise children who have a genuine love for Him and a heart that desires to do what pleases their heavenly Father.
First of all, we as parents must demonstrate genuine repentance in our own lives. We cannot impart to our children something we do not carry. Daily, we must walk in humility and a heart-posture of sincere repentance. Whenever we fall short, especially in our parenting, it is imperative that we immediately ask our child’s forgiveness. Children who grow up with parents who demonstrate true repentance will find it easier to admit when they’re wrong.
Secondly, we must teach our children that all sin, no matter how big or small, is still sin; and that our sin grieves our heavenly Father. God has such a high standard and we must train our children to value His standard and not the world’s way of thinking.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
We must implore our children to get their hearts right with God on a daily basis. We must teach them to take seriously their heart condition, motive, and actions; realizing that small compromises lead to big compromises. At the same time, we must always remember that the blood of Jesus is more than enough to cover our sin. We all fall short of the glory of God and repentance is simply something we must all learn to do a good job walking in!
Lastly, we must show our children grace and receive them with open arms when they repent. Our Father in heaven delights in showing mercy and is always willing to forgive each and every time we turn back to Him.
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
We must encourage our children, spur them on, and commend them every time they show genuine repentance. We need to forget their sin and give them a fresh start whenever they sincerely repent, offering abundant hope and joy for our children to overcome their short-comings.
Children are not too small to walk in the conviction of the Holy Spirit and genuine repentance. We must value true heart change in our children and daily invite the conviction and work of the Holy Spirit into their lives through much prayer. We must call our children up and expect that they too can have a genuine walk with the Lord at a very young age.
Parenting is certainly not an easy task. However, we must press on, not growing weary in well-doing knowing that we will reap a bountiful harvest in due time!
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)