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Mom, I’m Such a Sinner!

Mom, I’m Such a Sinner!

The door opened with a bang against my front hall.

“Mom!”

Something was wrong. My heart revved like a racecar. I wiped wet hands against my apron and hurried to meet my daughter, home from third grade.

Charity fell into my arms, a melted puddle of tears.

“I’m such a s-i-n-n-e-r!” She wailed.

Sobs ripped raw from her eight-year-old soul.

“Oh, Moooooom, what am I going to do?”

By then I’d imagined a number of worse case scenarios.

“What happened, honey?” With forced calm, my arm wrapped around her. I led her to the couch where we sat down.

The story came in bits and pieces, wrapped with an ugly ribbon of envy and jealousy. She’d created a powder keg fueled by childish comparison.

“And, everyone likes her better cause she hurt her arm,” she said.

Ah-ha. Ever since her best friend had broken her arm, class attention had swung in her favor. Charity felt the sting of second fiddle.

“Everybody helps her do stuff, and the teacher lets her do what she wants. Nobody plays with me because she can’t play the same games.”

Charity dug into her pocket. In the palm of her hand lay a paper clip unbent and re-shaped.

“What is it?” I asked.

A fresh tsunami of tears fell.

“I’m such a sinner,” she repeated. Broken and ashamed, she covered her face and wept into her hands. Can we say drama?

In an attention-grabbing coup d’état, my daughter spent almost a week with a paper clip bent across her front teeth. For recognition she convinced her classmates and teacher she’d gotten braces. With a coy hand in front of her mouth she talked, giggled, and played. And she pulled it off. Charity got all the attention she’d desired, except, she didn’t know how to live the rest of her life with a paper clip hanging off her teeth. Suddenly in her little mind and heart, she reached a panic stricken, “What do I do? I’m such a sinner.”

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8; NIV.

The Apostle Paul’s good news is that we are alive in Christ, but the bad news is without Christ we are dead in sin. It isn’t pretty, but it is one of the most important teachings we, as parents, are entrusted with. It’s a life changer.

As my daughter put it, we are such sinners.

God’s grace brings moments into our children’s lives, as He does in ours, when they feel just how bad sin is. It’s never pretty. A wise parent works with the Holy Spirit’s conviction without minimizing the sting of its pain. As we guide our children’s spiritual development, we agree with truth while bringing balance to emotion.

Sometimes as a mom, I succeeded, but many times I fell short. I wanted to blow on the boo-boo, salve the wound, and stick on a bandage. My child’s pain often became my undoing.

We always have a choice. We can try to talk them out of what they are feeling, or we can press into their pain and allow it to become their teacher. Acknowledgement of sin is necessary for repentance. Priceless lessons of grace and forgiveness follow, and we don’t want to shortchange those gifts.

Here are a few tips to consider when your children confront the ugly face of their sin.

  1. Dig it out. Make sure your child understands sin. Explain clearly Jesus’ love and His sadness when we disobey Him.
  2. Use life experiences. They point to future wisdom. Help them learn by mistakes. Bring them full circle in their thinking to why and how not to do the same thing again.
  3. Use consequences. When appropriate, natural effects resulting from wrong actions teach effectively.
  4. When possible bring them to Scripture in a loving manner. Don’t leave them with condemnation but show them in God’s Word the joy of obedience and forgiveness.

Eventually Charity’s tears dried, and the protests yielded.

The next day we marched into her classroom early with a bent paper clip in hand and a confession in her mouth. It was difficult and humbling. It didn’t feel good for any of us. Yet, its result lasted far longer than any other lesson she learned in school that day.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 13, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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