“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:4 NIV)
Parenting teens and preteens is not an easy task. You have to be on your toes, understand your children and pray for the patience of Job. It can be filled with hormonal driven drama. As much as I hate to admit it, this is reluctantly becoming my favorite time in parenting. All of my kids are at the point where we can have deep discussions about things and they actually understand. They are beginning to connect the dots between God and their lives and circumstances around them. This is a time in their lives when they don’t just talk about God, they experience Him.
A few weeks ago, the twins committed the same sin in the same week. My daughter first, then my son cheated. For some, this is no big deal, but for me it’s not acceptable. Cheating, as with any sin, becomes easier and easier to commit if left unresolved. So, in both cases, I made them own up to their mistake. I made them both write apology letters to their teachers explaining their actions, why they were wrong and ask for forgiveness. I wanted them to understand that sin can have far-reaching effects.
In both cases, their teachers responded with grace. My daughter’s teacher (she attends a private Christian school) took her aside and talked about what happened. She didn’t have to, but she used the opportunity to minister to my daughter. Karoline still had to accept the consequences, but her relationship with her teacher is different. The act of asking for forgiveness and offering it changes our perspective. Although Jonah’s experience was not the same, his teacher was thankful for the apology and offered forgiveness as well. My hope was for Jonah and Karoline to become sensitive to their sin and confess it rather than let it fester. In the end, they learned a priceless lesson on grace.
The scripture this week talked about the persecuted church which scattered and shared the gospel “wherever they went”. This story about my children, sin and forgiveness is the gospel. We are all sinners, Jesus forgives and we are reconciled. Preparing preteens and teens for the world is challenging. My desire is not for them to be perfectly behaved individuals; rather godly young adults. I am learning this takes a tremendous amount of patience, forgiveness and grace. I am thankful for the people God placed in our lives to help us instill these values in our children.