The Truth Will Set You Free
We try our best to encourage our children to be honest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But one thing we try to do is to give them a safe environment to confess things to us that they would prefer to keep to themselves. We also encourage them to look out for each other if they see their siblings doing something wrong.
So as part of our family night, we incorporated “Confessions.” This is a time when everyone has a chance to confess things in a safe environment. We encourage everyone not to judge, point fingers, laugh, or compare “sins.” (e.g., “At least I didn’t do….,” or “How could you do that?”). Me and my hubby will be the first to pipe up some confessions! Most of mine are “I am sorry I got upset about…” or “I’m sorry for getting irritated because nobody could find their gloves as we are running late for Building 31” or “I am sorry I accused you for taking the candy when it was actually your brother” or “I ate one too many pieces of chocolate!” The kids need to see that I am not perfect and that I don’t expect them to be perfect either. But when we make a mistake, let’s confess it, forgive, and move on. Life is just too short to spend it in regret, unforgiveness, and anger.
Confessions have also turned into a time of sharing temptations. Sometimes my children will confess a time they were tempted to do something and they turned away. For example, we don’t allow our kids to chew gum until they are 10 years old. When my oldest was nine, he was offered a piece of gum (on several occasions). He would come to Friday night confessions and say “One of my friends gave me a piece of gum. I told him I couldn’t have it but he gave it to me anyway. I took it and I was tempted to eat it but I didn’t. Here, take it..” Now that he is 10, he doesn’t take his gum-chewing privileges for granted.
These confession times have given us an open door to talk about peer pressure and temptation. It gives us a chance to affirm their decision to turn away from temptation. It encourages the rest of the family to be strong in the midst of temptation. It also gives us an opportunity to talk about how, even as adults, we still have to overcome peer pressure and temptation.
Confessions have also opened up one-on-one confessions with the kids. At night before bed sometimes I will ask individual kids “Is there anything you want to talk about? Do you have any confessions?” Sometimes they don’t, but sometimes when their faces twitch, I come closer and say, “It’s okay, it is just me and you. Anything you have to say?” Usually, I get a confession and now they are set free!
Let’s Do It!
God’s word encourages us to confess our sins and keep the channels between us and God open and free of sin. A couple verses we can ponder are:
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
Keep your family relationships strong by encouraging each other to confess and forgive. Join our mission to build strong families by incorporating “Confessions” into your home.
What do you do to encourage your children to confess things kept hidden? What techniques work for you to help teenagers confess? Are you and/or your spouse willing to admit when you are wrong?