“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~ James 5:16
“Mama, say sorry! You no talk like that!”
That came from my three year old the other day. Ouch. He was right. I was impatient and raised my voice. How many times have I told him to apologize for the way he was speaking to me, whether in tone or volume or foul language? It’s a daily struggle, sometimes hourly.
Admitting you are wrong is not easy. I learned early on in parenting that I was not a perfect parent. I was going to make mistakes and I was going to mess up. I am human. When most of our children were little, the thought of apologizing to them was still a foreign concept to me.
Why? I expected them to apologize when they did something wrong. I suppose it was the idea that I had to remain in authority and if I apologized, that somehow that would discredit me. Over the years, I’ve learned that by apologizing to my children, I relate to them better. They understand that I mess up too. They have an opportunity to forgive. This Biblical principle of apologizing and asking forgiveness is not something I did well with them at the beginning. Over time as I grew as a Christian, I learned that by confessing to my children when I messed up, there was healing. There was no anger or resentment built up because they knew I had done wrong and I acknowledged it.
I know that I will continue to apologize to my children because I will continue to be human. My hope is that, over time, I won’t have as many incidences that necessitate the apology. That maybe I can stop myself and not mess up as much and there will be more peace in my family. That as I mature, I can tame my tongue before my anger gets the best of me. In the meantime, I have plenty of opportunities to practice this apologizing and forgiveness model with my children. I hope that they will be gracious and humble. They absolutely know that Mama is not perfect.
So this is the dance we do as parent and child. I mess up, I apologize, they forgive. They mess up, they apologize, and I forgive. We learn from each other and walk the journey of being more like Christ everyday.