Teaching Forgiveness and Repentance by Harriet Yoder
The Watering Place: Come and be Filled with Encouragement for Homeschooling.
Here is another in our series on teaching Christianity to your children. The whole Bible is your textbook. What we are offering here is some of the lessons we have lived through in our walk with the Lord. It is our prayer that this will help and encourage you as you train up your children. Here are the links to topics on this page:
- Patterning Forgiveness and Repentance
- Pray with the child when he has sinned.
- Love your enemies . . .
Pattern Forgiveness and Repentance
Teach children to apologize and ask for forgiveness by patterning it yourself and walking them through it.
- Parents aren’t perfect. If we mess up, one of the best things we can do for our children is to humble ourselves and ask for their forgiveness.
- If children see their parents do this, they will do follow the example.
Teach them to apologize.
- When they are little, it helps to tell them how to apologize.
- “Please tell your brother, ‘I am sorry that I hurt you. Please forgive me.’ “
Pray with the child when he has sinned.
True confessions: I had to learn to do this. It was hard for me because it was new and different. Definitely worth it!
- You know when they are repentant because they want to pray!
- I lead the prayer and help the child remember what to say until he is old enough to do it by himself. I try to be specific in naming the sin and have the child ask God to help them not to do that anymore.
- When they are still sinning, they don’t want to pray! I don’t force them to pray if they don’t want to because I know that they will be back after their correction. Their heart hasn’t changed and they are probably going to get into trouble again. Usually my children “get it” after one or two tries and come to me and ask for prayer so their heart will be right.
Love Your Enemies
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” Luke 6:27-28
Yes, this is a hard verse to understand. It seems contrary to what the world teaches. This is one verse that you have to accept for face value and live it. There is a cost because:
It is hard to love your enemies.
- It does not come naturally to good to those who hate you.
- How easy is it to bless those who curse you or to pray for those who despitefully use you?
- All these commands are foreign concepts to our flesh. The natural man wants revenge. Our flesh wants to hate people who have hurt us. We want to ignore them, act as if they don’t exist. We are deceived to believe that it will keep us from being hurt again.
Jesus knew though. He knew that unforgiveness hurts both sides. He knew that thinking someone out of our existence was spiritual murder. He knew that building up fleshly walls of defense only serve to separate us from Him because those walls only harden our hearts.
How do I do this, you ask? It is easy but it is hard. I could talk for hours on this and real life examples, but I will save that for another article and keep this simple. Take the verse literally. Pray and ask God to show you how to apply it to your situation. It will be hard the first time. It may take time to see the fruit, but fruit you will see. Trust me; no, trust God’s word!
If you can get this concept across to your children, you will have imparted a great blessing to them.
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