Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13
I had surgery a few weeks ago. It wasn’t anything major, but I was limited by what I could do during recovery. I had no choice but to rely on others.
I realize that kids believe the world revolves around them. Maturity comes when we recognize and come to terms with the fact that that isn’t true. But at twelve, ten and six years of age, I don’t expect my kids to have completely reached that point yet.
However, I did expect them to put aside their self-centeredness for a little bit, and focus on me for once. I wasn’t expecting breakfast in bed, or daily maid service. But, I did think they’d routinely ask me how I was, offer to refill my water, or ask if there was anything I needed. I got a bit of that for about five minutes on day one, but that’s where it ended.
Typically, at dinner, we all share something about our day that the others don’t know. Then we all ask curiosity questions. Over the summer, because we’re together so much, there isn’t much we don’t know about each other’s day. Instead, we use question prompts to share about the books we are reading. Mason absolutely loves these questions.
Towards the end of my recovery, he asked at dinner if we could do the book questions. I agreed. We went with, “Who do you relate to most in your book?”
When my turn came, I surprised myself by admitting I related to the mom in the book I was reading called Leave Me: A Novel by Gayle Forman . She packs her bags and leaves when her family doesn’t help her during her recuperation after a heart attack. I went on to say that I would never leave my kids, but I understood what it felt like to not be cared for after a medical incident.
Both Zack and Mason looked down in embarrassment. Mason finally looked up and simply said, “I’m sorry for not helping you more.” Zack immediately added, “Me too.”
I was shocked. I thought they’d get defensive and argue their side of things. I thought I’d have to find different ways to help them understand where I was coming from. I presumed I’d only end up more frustrated as they tried to rationalize their behavior.
But them taking ownership so completely, and apologizing so maturely, had me forgiving them in an instant. How could I not when their repentance was so sincere?
That scenario helps me better understand how I need to be when I approach God for His forgiveness. Instead of justifying my behavior, defending my actions, and arguing my side of things, I need to humbly and contritely accept responsibility for the bad choices I make. Then I need to apologize, simply and sincerely.
God will always forgive us no matter the extent or brevity of our apology. But in order for us to forgive ourselves, we have to know in our hearts we are truly sorry. Zack and Mason weren’t proud of their neglect of me, but they were proud of their humble and mature apology. They knew they had made things right again with me.
I need to approach God with the same humility and maturity. I want to be proud of how I petition His forgiveness. But most of all, I want to truly make things right again with Him.
Questions For Reflection:
* When my kids apologize to me, do they do so humbly and contritely?
* If so, do I find it easy to forgive them?
* If they don’t apologize humbly and contritely, how can I guide them in doing so?
* When I make a mistake, do I bring it to God for His forgiveness?
* When I do, do I try to justify my behavior? Get defensive about what I’ve done?
* When I have approached God humbly, and apologized maturely, what has that felt like?
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