10 Things To Do When Your Child Sins

When our child sins, it can feel heavy. It can feel devastating depending on the “size” of the sin.

When I choose to disobey, choose my desire over God’s, or intentionally walk in my own path, what does God do? How does He show up?

I’ve been crying for several days over my own child and the decisions they’ve made. In the midst of my sadness it struck me that I do the exact same things to God that my child is doing now. And I do them more often than I want to admit.

As I search for answers on how I want to show up during this time, I begin to wonder how God shows up for me when I act this way. The following are ways that I COULD choose to act or maybe I already have. It was helpful to let myself imagine God responding to me in these ways.

When I choose MY way, how does God respond?

  • Does He act as a martyr and say, “After all I’ve done for you…you choose yourself and your way over me? How could you do this?”
  • Does He cry? Secretly so sad that I choose self over Him?
  • Does He freely let me go to explore my own path and find my own way? Knowing there will be consequences?
  • Does He bid me farewell and good riddance, getting angry and disgusted that I could ever do such a thing?
  • Does He wait patiently hoping I return to Him? Hoping I don’t get hurt while I’m away?
  • Does He experience deep betrayal?
  • Does He take it personally?
  • Does He hold me in the palm of His hand? Seek after me like a lost sheep? Pursue me intently?

I sit here this week contemplating how I want to show up, what to feel, as my child chooses their own way. Chooses to go against our best desires for them and God’s best desire for them.

What I humbly notice is that I am just like my child.

I choose my own way often.
I want what I want.
My pride dictates my attitude.
I want to check out of Christianity.
I’m angry that God puts us here in this broken world to experience this pain.
I turn away from Him to choose my own way.

And then I recognize that He still loves me. He sent Jesus Christ to die for me… in my sin. While I was still, and do still, choose self. He still pursues me. He loves me unconditionally.

I am just like my child.

Tears come.
Tears of repentance to my Heavenly Father.
Tears of humble gratitude for His pursuit of me.
Tears of love and compassion and understanding for my own child.

What I do know is that I CAN do something.

Here are 10 things I choose to do.

1. In my tears and my pain I come to God and lay my heavy burdens at His feet.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

2. I trust that God loves my child more than me.

As I wrote this post I came across this short article that gave me even more comfort that “God Really Does Love Your Child More Than You Do.”

3. I believe that He has the best for both of us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm youplans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to youYou will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

4. I ask Him to work and know that He hears me.

And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

1 John 5:15 NIV

5. I experience His peace as I pray and trust the path He has for my child.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

6. I ask forgiveness and surrender my own sin, my prideful attitude, my anger.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 NIV

7. I pray more fervently that I ever have.

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Luke 6:12 NIV

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV

Read more on praying for our children here.

8. I grow in my faith and believe God is good and good will come.

This song will fire you up regarding God’s goodness! He saved our soul and brought us out of darkness and made a way and guides my every footstep

I look back and remember his faithfulness in my past and how I’ve grown in my faith when I’ve experienced hard times. I need Him.

9. I love my child with an everlasting love as God loves us.

I want to love like Christ loved me. It’s clear in scripture that God would take back anyone who repented – the stories of the prodigal son, the thief on the cross, the shepherd pursuing the lost sheep, etc.

The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

10. Finally, I praise the God of the Universe that has created all the world…including my own child… for His purpose.

Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done wonderful things,
    things planned long ago.

Isaiah 25:1 NIV

As I do these things, I still feel sadness. But I also feel trust, joy, peace, awe, humility, lightness and so much LOVE for Him, for myself and for my child.

What about you? Are you experiencing the pain of another’s choice or your child’s sin? Or of your own choice? What one thing will you choose to do now?

Read more about what to do in the middle of the hard here.

Tracy Hoth

100 Words of Affirmation Your Son/Daughter Needs to Hear

Matt and Lisa Jacobson want you to discover the powerful ways you can build your children up in love with the beautiful words you choose to say every day–words that every son and daughter needs to hear.

These affirmation books offer you one hundred phrases to say to your son or daughter – along with short, personal stories and examples – that deeply encourage, affirm, and inspire.

So start speaking a kind and beautiful word into their lives daily and watch your children–and your relationship with them–transform before your eyes.

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