As a leader, I often wrestle with the concept of disclosing my sins and personal struggles to my children or leaders. I usually refrain from sharing, whether out of motivation for a good reputation, respecting boundaries, or not wanting to over share. Some things should stay private, to stay between you and God or with just 1-2 other people.
I am not going to give you a solution about when and what to intentionally share. However, I want to think about a question today. Do our kids see us modeling our fight against sin? One of the ways kids learn best is by modeling what they see someone else do. We model prayer, reading our Bible, going to church, and serving at church among many other things. But do we model recognizing, mourning, and repenting our sins?
I distinctly remember a conversation I had with one of my campers a few years ago. In the lesson, the teacher had used me as an example of a sinner. Afterwards, a child came up to me and asked me if I really did sin, and how the teacher could have known that. I was shocked – of course I am a sinner. Yet when I look back, the way I interacted with the kids might have seemed to them like I had it all together and didn’t sin anymore. I had the opportunity to share with this young girl that while I loved the Lord and my sins were forgiven because of Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection, I was still growing in my faith too. I continue to sin every day, in my attitude, words, and how I treat others and God.
That conversation was a wake-up call for me. While I don’t believe I should share everything I struggle with to my kids, I hope to interact with them in such a way that they understand that I am still growing in my faith too. I don’t want to talk about sin in an abstract way that only relates to “bad” people – each and every one of us battle with sin on a daily basis.
Here are some ways I am learning to share my sin with my kids.
• I apologize to my kids when I sin against them and ask for their forgiveness.
• When I teach a lesson, I try to share something that God is currently teaching me through that passage or story.
• Reminding them (and myself!) that our worth is not dependent on what we do or do not do– our worth is given by God. He is eager to forgive us.
I hope to model for the children in my ministry what it means to have a heart that is continually transformed. I don’t want to just modify behavior. My hope is that Christ will transform hearts to love and want to worship Him. Praise the Lord that He would continually forgive sinners like you and me and steadfastly love us regardless of our actions. He is ever faithful.
About The Author:
Alisha Henricksen serves as the Sales and Editorial Coordinator at Pioneer Clubs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Children’s Ministry from Moody Bible Institute. She has served in children’s ministry (10 years) and camp ministry (3 years). When she is not working at Pioneer Clubs, she also serves as the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at a local church. She enjoys books, movies, coffee, donuts and spending quality time with friends and family. Her passion is to equip the church and families to disciple children and to raise the next generation to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.