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3/8/12 at 03:51 PM 0 Comments

Forgiveness for Moms Who Fail

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By Robert Jones

In my twenty-five years of pastoral ministry, I don't think I have met a mom, including a preschool mom, who feels like she has done a good enough job. Most mothers labor under the weight of guilt—of frustrated ideals, imperfect performance, and deficient production. The laundry remains undone; story books unread, and tempers flare. . . .

Distorted Guilt

The guilt you feel may be distorted guilt. We may wrongly place ourselves under a law we erect: "Good mothers should do X, Y, or Z," even though X, Y, or Z may go beyond what God's Word commands. I think of my friend—a good mom by any fair standard—who believed that all good moms should take their kids to the library three times a week. Sometimes those false standards come from outside of us—the ideals of your church or small group, your mother's model, your mother-in-law's advice, or the latest book or blog from your favorite Christian counselor.

Sometimes they come from our own perfectionist hearts as we seek to establish and live out our own legalism and self-righteousness (Philippians 3:3-9).

True Guilt

On the other hand, your guilt may be true guilt. You and I certainly fall short of God's standards every day. We fail to love the Lord our God with everything we've got and we fail to love our spouses and children the way we selfishly love ourselves. Whether you are mother of a pair of preschoolers or a dad (like me) with two grown children, the apostle John reminds us, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us... If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives" (1 John 1:8, 10).

God's Answer for Our Guilt: Christ

What is God's answer for your guilt? Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection for all who repent, believe, and follow him. Sandwiched between John's two convicting verses above is 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." For those who honestly own their sins, God grants free pardon and thorough cleansing.

While you may find it hard as preschool mom to even get time for a shower, let God's personal promises of forgiveness spray over you today as you turn toward him in repentance and faith:

  • "Daughter, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5).
  • "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:11-12).
  • "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?... You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:18-19).
  • "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
  • "In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back" (Isaiah 38:17).
  • "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22).

Instead of endless drips of guilt, God bathes believers in Christ with forgiveness. His promises of daily grace cascade upon you like an invigorating waterfall. Especially on those days when you don't feel good enough.

Join the Conversation

Whether you're a pre-school Mom, an empty-nest Dad, a single parent, a single adult, or an older teen, how can you turn to Christ to be bathed in His forgiveness?


Robert D. Jones, D.Min.
Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina.

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