by Brandy Webb
As a parent, I try hard to train my children to be good people. I want them to know the difference between right and wrong and love and hate. I also want them to know how to forgive others and themselves to the point that they let it go, so the root of bitterness and resentment can’t grow inside them. Yet, I realize in order for them to do that, I must practice what I preach. I must stop rehashing forgiven mistakes.
I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one that has this problem, but when I get onto my children I tend to remind them of all the mistakes they have made that past week or month. Their past mistakes that they have already paid the consequences for and apologized for doing. How are they supposed to learn that repentance brings on the remission of sins, if I keep rehashing past sins?
I realize that I am treating my children like I treat myself. I must stop this cycle so that my children do not learn this same behavior. Not allowing yourself to let go of past sins that you have repented for is denying God’s forgiveness and ignoring the Scriptures. I want my children to know and believe that “as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us” (Psa 103:12). They won’t learn this if I keep reminding them of their sins. It is wrong.
I used to believe that remembering my mistakes would keep me from repeating them and also keep me humbled. In reality, all it does is make me feel like a bad person. The truth is, I can’t move forward if I’m constantly looking backward, and the last thing I want is for my kids to repeat this behavior.
They need to know what real forgiveness is. I want them to learn how to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,” and to run forward towards God’s Kingdom (Heb 12:1). I want them to believe in compassion because we have a compassionate God (Psa 103:13). When they say sorry and truly mean it, I need to be Christ like, forgive their sin, and not remind them of it.
Therefore, I must put this in practice. I must show them that it is possible to repent and let things go. I must work hard to give them a good example of how a Christian should act by not allowing any “corrupting talk come out of [my] mouth, but only such as is good for building up” because if I don’t I will “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (Heb 4:29-30). I really don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit, so I need to think before I speak. I want to train my children to repent when they make a mistake and move forward. I want them to know how to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ” forgives us.
Since I know that nothing is impossible with God, I can believe that I will change for the better, and I can let go of my past mistakes. Plus, with His help, my kids and I can start at zero on a clean slate because we have God who forgives all of our iniquities (Psa 103:3).