Apologies and forgiveness are part of Christian family life, but they aren’t easy. Use these tips to build Christian forgiveness at home.
What Christian forgiveness can look like in your home
Do you find it easy to apologize to your kids? What about your husband? And let’s talk about forgiveness… ever have trouble forgiving someone who has hurt you?
Apologies and forgiveness are not easy. But they are a must in a Christian home! Family relationships require us to apologize, forgive, and make things right.
Christian forgiveness is a big topic. Today, we’re looking specifically at the Christian family – mom, dad, kids – and how you can step forward and strengthen your skill and willingness to apologize, forgive, and help restore healthy relationships.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Listen to Episode #118:
If today’s topic is meaningful to you, these resources will give some additional support as you seek to love your Christian family well:
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We’ve been deep in a mini-series on Proverbs 14:1 lately, seeking to be wise women who build up our homes… (instead of foolish women who tear them down).
But today, we need to turn a corner and consider an important part of family life.
What happens when you fall short?
When you give in to a grumbling attitude? Or yell at your kids? If your attitude has not been godly and you’ve sinned against someone you love… How do you stop things from falling apart and foolishly tearing down your home?
You focus on Christian forgiveness.
In a home that is centered on Christ, apologies and forgiveness are a must. They are not an after thought or an occasional experience.
We know biblically that everyone is a sinner. (See Romans 3:23 for a starting point.) Everyone messes up, says hurtful things, or does the wrong thing from time to time.
But in a family, we can’t let those mess ups define our relationships.
We have to apologize, forgive, and restore the relationship.
Ultimately, this is Christian forgiveness. We live out the gospel in our homes.
We don’t forgive because the other person deserves it. Nor is it because our feelings aren’t hurt. We apologize and forgive so that we can live more like Jesus.
4 steps to apologizing
The steps to an apology are pretty straightforward. That doesn’t mean they are easy! But we simply have to take them one at a time.
- Confess to God first. He is our standard of right and wrong, and every sin is ultimately against his goodness.
- Apologize to the person you hurt. This should include being specific about what you did or said that was wrong. And you can hopefully try to express that you understand how they feel or why this situation matters to them. Be careful not to try to justify what you did!
- Next, you seek to make it right. This might be with a hug, offering a small gift (like flowers), or asking them how you can make things right.
- Finally, you move forward. Don’t eep apologizing over and over again, and don’t keep a record of wrongs about what’s happened in the past. (See 1 Corinthians 13.)
4 steps to offering forgiveness
So, we’ve looked at how to apologize. But what if you are the person in the family who has been hurt?
What does Christian forgiveness really look like when YOU have to extend forgiveness?
- Start by reflecting on how God has forgiven you.
- Verbally (and emotionally) tell them that you accept their apology. This can really help as you move past conflict and work on restoring health in the relationship.
- Don’t hide your emotions, but don’t dwell in them either. It will not help your relationship to act like you aren’t hurt or upset. Emotions are important. But, focusing on how upset you are is eventually likely to grow roots of bitterness in your heart and relationship.
- Finally, move forward. Do something with the other person that is fun, focused on something totally outside of the painful situation. Hug them, spend time with them, and let new experiences fill up your relationship again.
Christian forgiveness is hard work.
There are so many things that can go wrong in Christian family life. In fact, many things will go wrong! Despite our best efforts, people are still people. Sin is still sin.
And so, we apologize. Forgive. Move forward.
Apologies and forgiveness is worth the effort.
If you want to change your family life, start here. Change the dynamics of what happens when people mess up! No, you can’t force people to genuinely apologize or forgive. You can tell your child what to say, but you can’t make them mean it with their whole heart.
But you can mean it with your whole heart.
Sure, what we really want it to stop our family from messing up in the first place. No more yelling, lying, complaining, or conflict. That sounds great! But it also sounds unrealistic. So while you focus on strengthening communication, having fun with your family, and managing your emotions well… make space for Christian forgiveness along the way.
Every family needs it.
Continue digging into Christian forgiveness in the next episode on our Friday Faith Follow-up:
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Hugs & blessings to you, my friend! I’ll talk to you soon.
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