Today, I created a chart for my middle kiddos that are struggling with what repentance really looks like. They now have this handy little chart in their rooms to help guide them in their prayers for repentance.
It looks something like this:
1- ADMIT and CONFESS sin. (Father God, I did _________.)
2- ASK for forgiveness. (Please God, forgive me for ________.)
3- ASK for help. (Help me God to stop ________.)
4- TRY to quit. (Decide: I will try to quit ________.)
My oldest child has a pretty good handle on this personally. When she sins, she’s actually grieved in her heart. She’s quick to make things right with God and those she may have hurt.
My next child is 50/50 on handling his sin issues. If he gets stuck, he usually just needs a quick repentance reminder and he goes and takes care of the sin.
My next two have really been struggling with this for a while. They have both accepted Christ and both understand that their salvation is sure and secure. But they’re struggling with taking care of sin issues as they crop up throughout the day. They don’t seem to be grieved by sin. They don’t seem to go to the Lord in prayer to make things right with Him. It’s very hard to get them to make things right with the people they hurt. And they keep committing the same sins over and over.
So today, out of frustration over a sin issue that cropped up, I sat Child #3 & #4 down and thoroughly explained step-by-step the process of true repentance. How they have to 1- admit and confess that *they* did XYZ and it was wrong. That they then need to 2- ask God for forgiveness for XYZ (being very specific about what action(s) was wrong). That they can totally (and should) 3- ask God for help to resist this sin in the future. And then, to 4- make the personal decision to try and not do XYZ again. To work this repentance process with God first… and then to follow this same process with whoever they sinned against.
It really seemed to open their eyes. They apparently had no idea.
Typically, I would rebuke and discipline and teach and they’d be like “yeah, ok mom”– but they’d keep doing the same thing over and over again. My teaching and discipline seemed to go in one ear and out the other.
After our discussion on this process of true repentance, an opportunity came up within the next hour to test out this process. Child #3 got into a squabble with Child #1. Feelings were hurt. Things were said that were mean. The relationship was broken. After disciplining Child #3, I sent her to her room to go through the repentance process with God alone. She was up there a while but eventually came down looking like she’d dealt with it. I nudged her to make things right with her sister using this same process (subtracting Step 3, asking for help to quit ______). You should have seen child #1’s face when her sister came to her and said, “I did ______. It was wrong. Would you please forgive me? And I promise to try and quit doing ______ to you.” Child #1 nearly fell to the floor. She’d never heard her sister talk like that! It was SO cool to watch them reconcile and make things right and hug! YEA!!! It worked!!! And I’m not kidding, Child #3’s disposition has changed drastically today! She has been SO pleasant to be with. It’s like *seeing* the process of true repentance written on paper for her to follow was just the thing she needed!
I KNOW we will be using this chart in the very near future. Sin unfortunately always rears it’s ugly head. But I know I can discipline and teach and help lead them through this process.
I guess I always just assumed they understood repentance.
Child #1 and #2 seemed to get it right away, without much teaching.
But I thought I would share this experience with you my readers. If you’re having a young child that is struggling with recurrent sin issues and you’re not making any headway, perhaps it would be helpful to actually ask them if they truly understand the repentance process. They may not.
Perhaps you could try writing out the above steps too so they could take something with them when they go and pray, something to give them direction and guidance.
Hope you have a blessed day!
♥ Momma Duck