Don’t Look Behind
Joey & Carla Link
May 1, 2019
Teaching a child to drive can be a fearful experience for a parent. I remember teaching one of our kids who was eager to drive. I was concerned she wouldn’t keep her eyes on the road as she was driving instead of looking at everything else. She would turn her head to look at you when she talked to you. Panic attacks? Oh yes. I (Joey) had many with this daughter. I am sure I wore the floorboard out on the passenger side of our van as I continuously slammed my foot on the brake I wished was there.
As your pre-teen/teens are learning how to live their lives, they have two choices. They can look forward through the windshield of their soul towards the life God wants them to live or they can keep their foot on the gas pedal racing towards what they think is best. Either way, they have the rear view mirror revealing to them their past actions and beliefs. Can they look back without feeling guilt and shame or do they avoid looking at the mirror not wanting it to reflect their unwise choices?
When kids with the Sanguine and Melancholy temperaments make mistakes, they often beat themselves up, constantly looking at what they have done wrong because they refuse to accept the forgiveness of God and their parents because they won’t forgive themselves.
Sometimes our minds can play terrible tricks on us thinking God could never forgive us for what we did even though He says He does “by separating our sins as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalms 103:12)When Jesus gave His last words of encouragement to His disciples as He was preparing to leave this earth, He said, “I will never leave you, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:20) God may be disappointed in us for our sin, but He never stops loving us, no matter what we do. That is what He gave every human being parents for, to teach their kids what the unconditional love of God looks like.
With our grandchildren, I (Carla) always whisper in their ear when they are going to bed or they have been corrected for something they did that their Mom and Dad, Papa and Grammy and Jesus loves them whether they are good or bad, happy or sad.
Do your kids have the assurance that no matter what they do or don’t do, you love them and you always will love them?Or are they constantly feeling they aren’t good enough or they don’t measure up to what a sibling does and therefore they end up misreading your love? When this happens they become focused and obsessed with looking in the rear-view mirror, dealing with past faults versus moving forward, looking through their windshield without guilt or shame, knowing they are loved which gives them confidence and God’s perspective on life?
We know this is tough, especially when our kids have the propensity to make the same mistakes over and over and over again. But God expects us as parents to be mirrors of who He is and to be able to love and forgive them just as He does us.
Forgiving someone who keeps offending you can be tough, but forgiving yourself can be the hardest thing for us to do. Helping your children learn to forgive themselves can be one of the greatest blessings you can give your child.
A great biblical example of this is Peter. Think about how high the mountain was for Peter to climb to forgive himself for lying that he knew Jesus. Jesus had warned him he would deny him and he said “NEVER!” Before morning, he denied him 3 times!
Even though Peter saw Jesus alive and raised from the dead, he still struggled with his guilt. Instead of looking through the windshield of what God had for him to do, he was looking in the rearview mirror of how he failed Jesus, wondering how Jesus would want him to be a disciple anymore.
Jesus set the perfect example when He went to Peter in John 21 and helped him get over himself by:
- Going to Peter. We need to go to our kids when they can’t get over themselves and have a life-giving talk with them about God’s grace and mercy.
- Jesus showed Peter His love. Think of your child’s love language. Find a way to fill his/her tank.
- Jesus showed Peter He believed in him. He did this by asking him to do something valuable that he didn’t think he could do. Likewise you can show trust in your kids by letting them do something your head knows they can do even if your heart isn’t ready to agree.
Do you have a guilt-ridden child who beats themselves up inside because they have lost faith in themselves? If your child has the Melancholy temperament we guarantee you that you do. One of the best things you can do is help this child “fix his/her eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).Be a mirror that reflects Jesus to your kids and show them how to climb over themselves and do what God created them to do.
What a heart-wrenching example Jesus gave to all of us when Peter, his beloved disciple denied him not once, not twice, but three times! If Jesus can forgive Peter and show him love, He can surely forgive us for all our wrong-doing, and your children too.