“He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.‘” Mk. 10:14
There is a truth that all of us came perfect into the world. And so our imperfections were often learned from the sinful, imperfect adults around us. And particularly, we learned these ways from our parents, the first and most important influence in our growth. This negative impact on our lives represents a form of injustice. Even the best parents, try as they did, still showed their children how to compromise, lie a little, show prejudice over fleshly things, focus on the world, give a little less to the spirit, and to sin in thousand other ways. Why? Because no parent was perfect.
For this reason children are going to be angry for having to overcome the brokenness passed on to them. Children may not be able to pinpoint the problem, but it is a fact that they are not aligned with God. They grow up to be fallen. They can blame it on the world. They can blame it on liberals or conservatives. They can blame it on bad luck. But they are fallen short of God’s glory.
When we have sinned we ought to say we are sorry. When we have done harm to others, we should apologize. And it follows that all parents, even the really good ones, should talk to their children and be honest enough to say they are sorry for the harm they did to their children.
The Bible says for children to honor their mother and father. This is true. It is hard sometimes to honor bad parents, but all should be honored. But this obligation does not absolve the mothers and fathers of the responsibility to say they are sorry to their children.
I can say I was not a perfect father. I had my faults. Despite my genuine love for God and love for my children, I failed my kids many times by teaching them a bad example is certain areas. I hollered at them more than once, for example. I was selfish sometimes. So when my children were growing up and they pointed out my hypocrisy, I had to apologize. And when they were grown and gone off to college, I apologized to each one for my failings. I expressed my sorrow for letting them down in ways. I think they all forgave and forgive me.
I know this that there can be no healing and no moving forward without mending. Repair can’t happen without changing and forgiving. So I humbly ask parents to have a heart to heart with their children and admit they made mistakes. The children will love you and forgive you. And they will be free from the bitterness and anger they quite naturally have towards those who did them harm. Think about it. We may have harmed our children, but we can also help them.