Your Kids Need to See Your Repentance

I hate sin.

I mean I really hate it.

And I wish I could say I hate it for all the reasons God does, but I don’t. I’m not that holy. I definitely hate that it put Jesus on the cross. Honestly, though? I don’t hate it enough for that reason.

Because I still do it. And, sure, I hate the fall-out for other people…

… but one reason I hate sin that I’ve recently discovered is that it forces me into an uncomfortable place.

Because of my sin, I ultimately have to do one of two things:

  • BE HUMBLE, or







Our sin forces us to OWN the reality:

I am a stinky, rotten sinner. I’m a mess. I’m needy. I’m NOT strong. I’m NOT an awesome Christian woman who has it all together.

So that should make me instantly thankful, right? But it doesn’t yet. Cause I’m not that holy yet.

But what it does make me do is realize this:



DSC_1184My kids will either see me:

  • sin and repent, OR
  • sin and be silent.

Those are the only two options. Because there is one guaranteed thing they’re NOT going to have: a perfect mom.


Sometimes I’ve told my oldest son,

“I wish I could give you a perfect mama. But instead, I’ll ask for your forgiveness when I sin against you.”

That was easier when he was at an age where it was less likely he would remember. It’s harder now when he’s at an age I know he’ll remember.

  • He’ll remember how humiliating it is to be yelled at by me, his mom.
  • He’ll remember how it felt to burn with fury because I criticized the way he did XYZ.
  • He’ll remember.

But you know what else I’m hoping he’ll remember?

That I repented. 


Because I don’t have the option to never sin against him. Not in reality.

These are the only two choices I have:

  1. Don’t repent, and be a hypocrite.
  2. Repent and be humble.

And those are the only two choices you have, too, Mama. Your kids need to see your repentance.


This, of course raises a question: 


It doesn’t just mean saying “sorry.” Nope. That’s not biblical repentance. That’s… at best… a band-aid? An olive branch?

Repentance is more robust.

It means confessing the full measure of one’s sin against God, and turning away from it. It means my kids need to hear me fully agree with God about my sin… and then see me actively, daily, sometimes moment-by-moment, take steps to fight and turn away from my sin.

They need this for many reasons:

  • It shows them who God is— that He’s real and He hates sin and doesn’t approve of my sin agains them.
  • It shows them I really believe what I say I believe, and am willing to feel embarrassment because I’d rather be honest than hide my sin and feel comfortable.
  • This communicates to them that sin really is serious. And that we’re committed to be serious about it, too..
  • It models for them what they can do about their own sin.



Will you share with this community of Christian moms? How are you growing in your willingness to repent in a way that models a right view of sin and relationship with God for your kids?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast ( I write and wrangle kids.

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6 Responses

  1. Elisabeth Bingham says:

    I understand your desire to teach your kids repentance but I was deeply saddened by your understanding of God’s grace. God hates sin, that’s why He sent Jesus who became sin for us. He took the penalty so we would be free! He rose again so we would have abundant life! He took our sin so we wouldn’t be burdened! GOD nailed those regulations to the cross so we could be alive in Christ (Rom.2 v13-15). We are not in Adam anymore!(Rom 5). We are called to be saints! (Rom. 1 v7) I pray God will open your heart to true understanding, God bless you.

    • Jess Connell says:

      I truly thank you for your prayers. I want to know God better with each passing day and year.

      But are you saying that you believe you never do, and never will, again sin against anyone, after being in Christ?

      Because I believe that is impossible. I believe rather than a one-time repentance, God calls us to again and again repent from the sin He exposes in our hearts and lives. And I believe God puts us in families so that we can be seen and known and exposed for what we are… AND press on toward holiness. In fact, being a Mama has shown me more of the truth about my own flesh than any other time since I was saved. He is so good to show me my flesh so that I can “sow to the Spirit.” I believe the Bible teaches that we are free from being SLAVES to sin. We don’t HAVE to sin anymore– we are freed from the power and dominion of sin. Unfortunately, like Paul, “the thing I don’t want to do, I do.” And I don’t always do what I want to do.

      I look forward to being face-to-face with Him, made perfect and holy, in Heaven. Though I can’t achieve perfection on my own, in Him I already am made perfect, because the Father sees Christ’s payment when He looks at me. I am so very thankful for His grace.

  2. Anne says:

    I was sad to see that there are so few comments on that article. Having 2 Teenagers this is a big issue for me. With my smaller children a real “sorry ” was enough to show them mom isn’t always right and also needs forgiveness. With the older children i feel more is needed, more openess and honesty but that needs a lot of courage because teenagers can often comment very hard on our weakness

  3. Erin says:

    Proverbs 21:31
    “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD”

    In my life, I have found my repentance has brought PEACE, RELATIONSHIP, and HOPE to our home. Peace because I used to be PARALYZED by thoughts that I had to do everything right all the time and was devastated when I failed which (ironically) led to more and greater failure. Relationship because my children relate to me, repentance has broken a wall between us and made us all on the same team against the spiritual enemy, our flesh. Hope because His mercies are new every morning and with HIM I know victory is possible so I can throw away my frustrations and do the next right thing while trusting HIM for the ultimate victory.

    I LOVE repentance and I LOVE our savior because there is so much HOPE with HIM. I tell the children often after a failure has occurred, “Aren’t you so glad we have Jesus, what other god would offer us mercy and a new start in the day?! We can be close again even though sin threaten to tear us apart.”

    Our sin makes His greatness GLOW.

  4. Natalie says:

    Yes, i absolutely agree it is so important for me to apologize and admit that I have sinned to my children. I can see that they appreciate it so much. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Joanna Everett says:

    123 am im a filure of. Mother and my kids will hate me forever enemy blah blah blah
    128 am im a sinner saved by grace who can relate my kids who are sinners saved by grace i can sleep thank you

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