Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with the parents who bring their child in for counseling to be “fixed.” On more occasions than I wish to be true, I have had parents set up an appointment for their child. They bring them in, we go through the logistical introductory aspects of the process of counseling, and discuss confidentiality. We pray to welcome the Holy Spirit into our time. And then… the parent unloads. My heart wrenches and breaks almost immediately as I wince at the words being shared. I carefully make eye contact with the shame-soaked 5, 6, 9, 11 year old sitting in embarrassment and discomfort as Mom or Dad “gives me the full picture.” I exhale and ask the parent to stop for a minute; “Why don’t you tell me some of Johnny’s strengths?” or “How about we shift our focus to some goals so that we have direction for helping Sarah?” First Corinthians 13:5 says that “… love keeps no record of wrongs.” I’ve begun asking parents to come in without their child for the first meeting, not so that I can get more “dirt” on them, but because I can’t bear to see children sitting next to parents airing the child’s dirty laundry and pointing out all of the negative behaviors and attributes. I cannot bear it.
The Greek root of the phrase “record of wrongs” is the word legō which means “to say, to speak, to affirm over.” When we maintain lists of the mistakes, errors, and faults of our kids, I believe that we end up affirming and declaring these things over their lives. Speaking wrongs over the lives of our children shapes their little identities (the way that they perceive themselves) in a negative and destructive direction.
We are to be love! God does not count our sins against us. He blots out transgressions. He has cast our wrongs away from Himself. He has erased them! Why, then would we keep a running list of the sins of our children? The safety, trust, and intimacy I feel with the Lord has been established because I know that He does not hold my sins or store up an arsenal of my errors to later be used against me. I know that He forgives me and remembers my sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).
Can we keep our children accountable for errors that seem to repeat and character traits that need attention and healing while “keeping no record of wrongs?” I say, yes. Can we guide our children through an understanding of the negative effects and consequences of their poor choices without shaming them? I say, most definitely. We have a responsibility as the example of LOVE to our children to practice quick forgiveness and to speak life over them.
When you feel tempted to recall the errors of your son or daughter (or other children in your life), will you commit to releasing this list of wrongs to God?
By Kegan Mosier, MA, LPCC
Husband to Mikelle
Dad of one daughter, Reese Noel
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Mental Health Counselor at Cornerstone Christian Counseling,
Worship/Creative Ministries Pastor at Passionate Life Church