Family Night Ideas: Spring Cleaning for Relationships
When was the last time you said, “I’m sorry?” Been too long? One of the best ways to keep your family close is to prioritize the habit of good confessions. Try these fresh perspectives for Spring cleaning in your relationships:
Characteristics of a Good Confession
Hurts are inevitable. Even the most loving family members will eventually hurt one another. Likewise, it’s impossible to be perfect all the time. It’s not a matter of if we’re going to blow it; it’s just a matter of when. Therefore, make sure you know how to heal the hurts when they occur.
1. A good confession is specific.
Hurts don’t come in generalities, so our confessions must be specific. Can you sense the difference between these two statements:
- “Honey, if I’ve ever done anything to offend you, would you forgive me?
- “Sweetheart, God has shown me that I’ve been extremely critical of you. For instance, last night, I criticized you about your decision-making. I should have been grateful that you took the initiative rather than complain.”
A good confession should mention the specific wrong (I was insensitive, critical, unsupportive, etc.) and even include examples.
2. A good confession uses the phrase: “I was wrong” instead of “I am sorry.”
The phrase, “I’m sorry” implies little, if any, personal responsibility. It can have several subtle meanings, which can actually negate any sense of being wrong:
- “I’m sorry my words hurt you”—Seems to imply: but it wouldn’t have offended you if you weren’t so sensitive.
- “I’m sorry you were upset at the party”—Might convey: but no one else seemed to be.
In contrast, the phrase “I was wrong” acknowledges personal responsibility and ownership of what was said or done.
3. A good confession omits phrases that would dilute its impact.
Often, after we confess, we are tempted to:
- Minimize the offense: “Yeah, I got mad, but that’s not the big issue here.”
- Rationalize/justify: “The reason I got mad was …”
- Blame others: “I wouldn’t have become angry if you hadn’t …”
- Offer a trite confession: “OK, I’m sorry.”
- Ignore the offense :“Let’s talk about something else.”
Relationally strong families avoid any attempt to rationalize, justify or blame. These only dilute our confession.
4. A good confession asks, “Will you forgive me?”
After we have genuinely and properly confessed and have exhibited a degree of godly sorrow, ask the person offended, “Will you forgive me?”
In order to bring a new sense of freedom to your relationships, begin incorporating these four characteristics into your confessions.
Experiencing God's Word
Experience James 5:16 this week: Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
Reflect on your most important relationships: your spouse, children, friends and family members. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and then share a good confession with the people He brings to mind. Here’s what your confession might sound like:
I was wrong when …
I know you must have felt …
Will you forgive me?
I have asked God to change me by …
Let His Word bring a fresh cleaning to your relationships!
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