When You Know You’ve Messed Up {Welcome Home Link Up}

go to jailA facebook reader recently asked how a mother should handle knowing she has messed up when it comes to her children.  You could hear this mother’s heart breaking from guilt and pain.  I promised her I would address the topic here on Raising Arrows.  I would also welcome any loving Truth-abiding input from you, my dear readers.

The very first thing you have to do any time you realize you have done wrong is repent before the Lord.  Humble yourself and say you are sorry.  Then, go to your children and ask their forgiveness as well.  It’s hard and no one likes to do it, but it is oh so necessary.

We have to take responsibility for our actions as mothers.  I’m not allowed to yell at the kids just because I had a bad day.  Yes, it happens, but it’s not excusable…ever.  I’m not perfect, nor do I expect others to be perfect, but when you mess up, you say you’ve messed up.

And no matter if your children are young or old, you start at the same place to repair the damage…Scripture.  What is the root of your troubles with your children?  Is it anger?  Is it inconsistency in your own life?  Perhaps it is bitterness or discontent.  Scripture speaks to it all.

But knowing what the Bible says is not enough.

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Years ago, while reading Teri Maxwell’s Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, I realized that you cannot possibly PRETEND to be a Spirit-filled mother.  You cannot try harder and do better for very long without falling flat on your face…again.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:34b

You can’t just read all the passages about the particular issue you are dealing with and then put those into practice as if they were a formula to live your life by.  You have to be living and breathing God’s Word…day in and day out.  The abundance of your heart has to change before the overflow will reflect that change.

So, that is my advice to moms who know they have messed up.  Repent, tell your children you are sorry, get into God’s Word and beg Him to fill you up with His goodness and mercy so that you can do nothing but overflow the love of Jesus to your children.

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9 thoughts on “When You Know You’ve Messed Up {Welcome Home Link Up}

  1. Wow Amy, thanks so much for this post. I think this is an issue that many moms face, and it is hard to deal with. Thanks for your encouragment.

  2. Growing up all I ever wanted from my mom was for her to apologize when she had done something wrong to me. Not if I had misbehaved and gotten a punishment I had deserved, but for tiems when even I as a child knew she was not in the right in dealing with me. Last year she shared her feelings on that. “Don’t ever apologize to your kids.” That is so so wrong. An apology from her as a child, or even now, would have endeared me to her instead of put in a little wedge of bitterness that grew each time. It also gives our kids a chance to see(well they do see this already) that we are sinners too, and that we need to ask Jesus forgiveness and their forgiveness. And it gives them a chance to learn to forgive.

    • Angela,
      I know many in our parent’s generation who hold to this parenting philosophy as they believe it shows weakness. It is such a wrong attitude and does drive wedges for sure. :(

  3. You left off the last step: Repeat. Because it’s very rare that our faults are corrected in one episode of repentance and apology. I have found lasting change to be instantaneous at times, but often it’s one of my besetting sins that is causing the problem. Those take a little longer to root out.

  4. Thank-you. Beautifully put. I apologized to my daughter just the other day. Children really do need to see us modelling repentance and seeking forgiveness, if that is what we expect from them when they wrong us. I have really been striving to take my time with God to get filled up, because, as you said, just repeating the verses, or trying to change in our own strength will never work. Blessings, Inga.

  5. Amen, Amy.
    You are so right on with this post – we as mothers must humble ourselves to apologize to our children for those mess up times. It demonstrates grace and also teaches them, for the days when the become parents that grace, forgiveness, and humility are needed. It also promotes communication, seeking to understand and more.
    Always blessed by you.
    Rachel

  6. Thank you Amy! So important!
    My oldest is a sensitive, tender soul and one of my failings has been that I would tend to snap and criticise… I would think back over my behaviour at the end of the day and be filled with shame and fear that I would scar my gentle young son with my harsh words, impatience and tone and alienate him forever.
    I would beg God to help me change and to not let my sins hurt him or our relationship. I would say sorry and ask my son’s forgiveness every time, and explain that it was my fault and never his that I behaved that way, etc, but I would still be filled with regret and condemnation many nights. I would wonder what God was thinking when he gave me this sweet, sensitive child as my first!!
    God has shown me over the years (he’s only 5 now, but still a few years) that he has used this failing in me to strengthen my son, to help him to know that other people’s behaviour is NEVER his fault or his problem. To teach him forgiveness (he always, ALWAYS willingly and quickly offers forgiveness and compassion to me when I sin against him and ask forgiveness) and also to let other people’s reactions slide over him, he doesn’t even take it personally any more!
    Please don’t think I’m saying any of that makes me sinning against him ok, I’m just so grateful to be serving a God who knows my weakness and takes them out of the hands of the enemy, who intends them to “steal, kill and destroy” and instead brings good out of them!! YAY God!!
    (I’m also pleased to say I’m getting better at speaking more gently and apologising more quickly!)

  7. My mom was wonderful at this. Now that I have my own little one, I’m just realizing how hard it can be. And even though she is not yet even 2, just last week I did a real big (not just a oh sorry I bumped you) apology for the first time. I told her that what she was doing was not okay, but that God didn’t want me to respond by yelling at her and that I was sorry. I’m sure most of it went over her head but I know that God used that time to change my heart and after our talk and a hug , our afternoon was on a completely different course (that’s what is also great about little kids, they are wonderful examples of how to forgive and move on!). If I hadn’t apologized, I know we would have kept going on that grumpy, impatient, selfless path we were both on – not fun for anyone!