I’m writing from South Carolina this week. It’s beautiful here! My husband and I had a chance to hike in the mountains and this was our view.
we have fellowship with one another.
1 John 1:7
In college I volunteered at a residential treatment program for troubled kids. I met some great people there but the punitive system for the kids who broke the rules was depressing. There was no room for grace or forgiveness. When one boy cussed out another boy, the standard approach was to dole out punishment liberally and remove the very few privileges he had.
The kids were never required, or even taught, to apologize. My guess is the staff figured it would be too much of a bother. As a result, though, the kids never learned to consider how someone else felt and weren’t given the tools to help make a relationship right.
So why are “I’m sorry” prayers so important?
“I’m sorry” prayers are all about restoring relationship. “Confession” means uncovering whatever is eating away at the relationship between you and God and bringing it out into the open. Nothing is hidden or kept secret. Nothing is ignored or treated as if it didn’t happen.
Until that takes place, real intimacy with God can’t happen. Of course the same is true for a relationship with a dad, mom, brother, sister, aunt, uncle. Uncovering and confessing wrong is the first step toward real peace, harmony and reconciliation.
Which is why it’s so important to teach kids to confess and make things right–with God and with others. Relationship is at stake.
Saying “I’m sorry” to God, or to others for that matter, doesn’t seem overly complicated (how hard is it really to say “sorry” besides getting up enough courage to do it?). But building three simple phrases into the confession makes sure kids touch on three different aspects of I’m sorry: “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
When kids learn to say “I was wrong”
they’re learning to take responsibility for their actions.
When kids learn to say “I’m sorry”
they’re learning to recognize the impact what they’ve done has had on the other person, including the Lord.
When kids learn to say “Will you forgive me?”
they’re learning to be humble and admit they need something—forgiveness.
I’m not suggesting being legalistic about the three phrases; God does look at the heart. But they each highlight a different heart attitude that will bring them into a closer relationship with God and with others.
I’m praying that you and your family will enjoy the freedom and sweet friendship that comes from walking in the light.