How Can We Seek to Develop a Heart of Repentance in Our Child?

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This question was from a parent (see the comment in this post) who had a child that was caught lying. We as parents know that we can make  a child apologize, but we cannot make him or her be truly sorry and repentant. How do we reach the heart of the child?

First, we need to move beyond the behavior (i.e., lying) and get to the heart motive. Why did the child lie? Was he afraid of getting caught? Did she do it because of pride, not wanting to be wrong or a failure? Ask your child questions and pray for wisdom in each situation, so that you can discern what is behind the sinful behavior.

Once you find the motive, keep working back until you expose the sinful and fleshly idol in your child’s heart.  If he was afraid of getting caught, help him see that he is not trusting in you; he is more concerned with keeping himself “safe,” instead of allowing you to help him in life. Even more, he is not trusting in the sufficiency of Christ and His gospel.

If she was being proud, then expose this heart issue to her. Explain that this proud attitude is exactly what sets Satan against Jesus. You can see that the child doesn’t need to just repent of lying, but to repent of pride, lack of trust, or whatever idol is marking his life. 

Above all, be ready to step back and let the Holy Spirit do His work. After all, the only thing you can really do is expose idols and lead your child to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the One who convicts hearts.

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