Parenting, Day 3 – Non-negotiable First Step to Build a Happy Home
Christians enjoy and benefit from the gospel because of forgiveness (See Romans 10:9, 13). For example, we confessed our sin, requested forgiveness, and our kind Lord forgave us. Confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation are the stepping stones to happiness (Deuteronomy 33:29). If you want a happy home, you must imitate God at this crucial point (Ephesians 5:1).
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).
During the first five years of our marriage, I never asked Lucia to forgive me for any sins I committed against her. That is staggering. Let me state the obvious here: my view of God, humanity, and sin were sub-biblical. My gospel understanding and practices suffered because of my weak theological perspectives (Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Peter 2:2-3). One of the most transformative relationship-building questions you will ever ask another person is, “Will you forgive me?” Forgiveness is how your relationship with God began, and the process is similar for His image-bearers (Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 5:1).
A Christian who is not regularly asking for forgiveness is like the son of a millionaire who has no awareness of his daddy’s fortune. Or even worse, he is aware of his father’s wealth but refuses to benefit from it (1 Peter 1:4). Forgiveness is a free and unlimited gift from the Lord, but it requires humility to access it, whether you are asking for it from someone or granting it to someone. The person who is not regularly asking for forgiveness is either (1) self-deceived, (2) a pretender, or (3) living in denial of the doctrine of sin. A forgiven person—who is authentically residing in the grace of God’s forgiveness—is willing to ask for and grant forgiveness.
Seven Simple Steps
- Be Honest. You know when you sin (1 John 1:7-10; Romans 2:14-15).
- Walk In the Spirit. When you sense God’s illumination, step into it. Don’t run, but obey Him in all things.
- Practice Forgiveness. Don’t say I’m sorry or apologize. Push the biblical envelope by pursuing radical reconciliation. Ask for transactional forgiveness.
- Start With God. Don’t ask others to forgive you while not asking God to forgive you. All sin is a sin against God.
- Be Specific. “Will you forgive me for (name the sin)?” Let them know that you know how you have sinned. Do not let them let you off the hook. “Make” them forgive you. Be convincing, persuasive, and unrelenting in your pursuit of forgiveness.
- Surrender. Give up your rights by submitting yourself to the authority of God and His Word. Choose no other option until you are released from your sins and restored to those you offended.
- Remember. There is power in forgiveness. After the Father had executed His Son on the cross (Isaiah 53:10), He made it possible to release any person from the guilt and punishment that all sin deserves (Romans 6:23). As a Christian, you have the grace-empowered privilege to live daily in a guilt-free home if you are honest with yourself, God, and others.
After Lucia and I had begun to see the gospel with more practical clarity, we started to live in a “sanctification sweet spot” that radically changed our home. We replaced the guilt, burden, shame, unresolved conflict, and proverbial “pink elephants” flying around the room with love, joy, peace, hope, and mercy that Christ offers through practicing forgiveness.
Time To Parent
- Would you characterize your home as a place where confession and forgiveness regularly happen?
- Are all the members of your home committed to practical transactional forgiveness?
- What specific plan will you implement to help motivate all your family members to be forgiveness askers and receivers?