If we think about it long enough, we realize we do not have to teach our children to do wrong; they have a natural bend toward poor behavior and bad choices. We spend our parenting years trying to teach them to do right. It was no different for us. Our parents had to teach us to do right because we were vulnerable to doing wrong. Our children “will” disappoint us, so what must we do? We can only look to our Heavenly Father and His precious expression of love by offering forgiveness to all that will come to Him and ask for it. As stated in Psalm 130:3-4 (NLT), “LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But You offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear You.”
The word “fear” in that verse means to respect or revere God. In other words, God’s willingness to understand our fallen condition and still offer us help and forgiveness impacts us to make better choices next time. Sometimes our best work as parents is “how” we respond to our children’s mistakes. If we can remove ourselves and the impact on us, then we are better prepared to determine to work it all out for good or for the “best outcome” for our children. Romans 8:28 (NLT): “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”
Being realistic about our children’s vulnerability best equips us to respond to the situation rather than fall to the temptation of merely reacting. We can see in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT), “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” We must approach every opportunity for correction with resolve, ready to extend forgiveness and move on. God’s Word in Romans 5:15 (NLT) explains, “But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.”
I think of Joseph in Genesis after his brothers had treated him horribly. He considered their regret over what they had done and then extended forgiveness to them when he saw their hearts had changed. Genesis 50:19-21 (NLT): “But Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.’ So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.”
Approach these opportunities ready to pass on to our children the same love and forgiveness our Heavenly Father is willing to pass on to anyone who will come to Him by faith. Pray and ask God to work it all out for “good” in the life of your child and your family.