I’m Sorry, Silas
DECEMBER 13, 2022
I was an 80’s and 90’s kid and parents telling their children “I’m sorry” wasn’t the norm. The idea that an adult would ask a child to forgive them was unheard of, at least in my observation.
I was an 80’s and 90’s kid and parents telling their children “I’m sorry” wasn’t the norm. The idea that an adult would ask a child to forgive them was unheard of, at least in my observation. Was this because parents were unaware of their faultiness or stubborn and prideful and couldn’t concede when they made mistakes? I don’t think so, I mean sure none of us like admitting when we do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing but I don’t think that’s at the heart of this. I believe this mainly stems from a fear of vulnerability from adults toward children…something that still happens today and might seem small, but has incredibly long lasting and long stretching consequences. This fear is born from the thought that not only do children need to see adults (especially parents) as infallible and in complete control in order to offer them the security of knowing they are safe, but also a way to ensure that the balance between parental authority and adolescent obedience stays in check.
Why is this so important? Why might this be one of the most important things we reverse as parents? I’m serious, I absolutely believe that reversing this concept and regularly saying sorry to your children and asking for their forgiveness will be one of the most powerful investments in their lives and their understanding of a gospel of GRACE. The earlier in a child’s life this starts to happen, the sooner certain doors will be opened in their relationship with you as the parent and understanding the beauty of grace.
My son Silas is 3.5 years old and he is super helpful…when it comes to showing me my own humanity. Sometimes I lose my temper, sometimes I raise my voice, and sometimes I simply don’t do or say the right thing. It’s in these moments that I have a critical choice to make. I can brush off my actions, justify them, or I can stop, walk over to my son, get down to his level and say three incredibly powerful words, “I’m sorry Silas.” “I shouldn’t have raised my voice, will you forgive me?” You might be saying, “He’s 3, does he even know what’s happening?” Whether he fully grasps everything that’s happening in this moment or not, you are laying the groundwork of the gospel in this little life. Every time you take part in this apology and request for forgiveness, you are showing this little one what it means to walk in the light, to have the freedom to ask for forgiveness because Christ has forgiven you, to confess your sins, to live out of grace instead of fear.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” – Proverbs 28:13
Your child doesn’t need a perfect parent, they need parents who know that they aren’t and are willing to humbly walk that out with them. Silas doesn’t need me to be some super-Christian that has it all figured out, he needs a dad that’s honest about his own humanity and models what it means to be reliant on Jesus and covered in His grace. Not only does modeling this grace open the door to Jesus, it opens the door to your children reflecting this same transformative behavior back to you. Once your children know that you aren’t perfect, make mistakes, and don’t have it all figured out, that brings down a major relational wall that many parent/child relationships suffer from. By bringing down this wall, it invites your child to bring their questions, fears, failures, etc. to you. They’re able to be vulnerable because you’ve been vulnerable. This is one of the reasons so many Christians gravitate toward the Apostle Paul and His writings. He is wide open with his sin, his need for forgiveness, and his clinging to the gospel of grace. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” – Romans 7:15
By saying sorry to our children and asking for forgiveness, we are not only living out of the grace Jesus’ has shown us, we are putting that grace on display for them to soak up, grow into, and live out of. Say sorry to your child, and watch it change their life.