One of the Greatest Gifts a Man Can Give His Family…

…is modelling repentance.

A few weeks back, Mark Driscoll preached through Luke 11:5-13 and spoke well to this as he examined verse 13:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Here’s the transcript for the video:

Gentlemen, one of the most powerful things you can do is acknowledge your own evil to your wife and children. This is telling your wife and your children when you’ve sinned and it’s owning it and naming it. All right, Jesus says that earthly fathers are evil. So when we do or say or fail to do good and we act in a way that is evil, it is very helpful for our families to see us repent of sin. Some of you have never heard your dad say things like, “It’s my fault. I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” You’ve never heard that. Because even when your dad was wrong, he didn’t acknowledge it. He didn’t confess it. He didn’t agree with Jesus, “Yeah, that was evil.”

And so fathers, if you want to create a loving, nurturing, godly home, you model repentance by acknowledging your own evil. If you want to raise really stubborn, obstinate, rebellious, religious kids, tell them to repent of their sin but never repent of your sin. Tell them when they say or do evil, but do not acknowledge your own. You will then create a very religious culture with very discouraged children who will realize that they live under a father who is aware of their sin but ignorant of his own and that he is a cruel taskmaster and overbearing hypocrite.

So it’s important for us fathers to tell our children, “I want to be the best father I can be. God the Father is the perfect Father. You need him. I need him, too, because we’re both sinners that he’s working on and he’s dealing with our evil.”

Modelling repentance is not easy. Abigail looks at me like I’ve got two heads sometimes (she’s still in that age-range where Daddy apparently can do no wrong), but it’s slowly) helping her to understand that it’s okay to admit our sins and ask for forgiveness from those we’ve wronged.

I’m not sure if it will ever get easier, but I’m looking forward to seeing the fruit in her life.

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  • http://www.hillsbiblechurch.org/ Don

    A humble transparent life is a good thing. When children see their parents living out the words of the gospel, it authenticates the truth of the gospel for them. However, if they hear a parent repeatedly confess to God and each other the same sin, they begin to question the veracity of this repentance.

    “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”(1 John 1:8-9 ESV)

    “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6 ESV)

    “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9 ESV)

  • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

    That’s a good point, Don. At what point does repeated confession become a need to question the veracity or intent? Where’s the line between stumbling and “mere confession”?

  • http://www.hillsbiblechurch.org/ Don

    Of course, only God knows the intent of the heart, so from an eternal perspective I leave that to God.

    However, children are fairly perceptive. I suspect it wouldn’t take many repeat relapses before the children started to suspect that the confession was hollow not reflective of the intent of the heart.

    The very sad reality is, a child is greatly damaged by the lies of his or her parent. Repeated false confession strips away, layer by layer, any trust the child has for the parent and by extension, perhaps for any authority figures. Even worse, if it is the father who is the transgressor, the child may find it difficult to accept God.