One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Zacchaeus. The story is in Luke 19:1–10, and it’s worth reading. It starts when Jesus entered Jericho and crowds pressed in, yet out of everyone Zacchaeus is specifically mentioned. And he’s described three ways: as a chief tax collector, wealthy, and short. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so much that he humbled himself and climbed a sycamore fig tree. Jesus spotted him, and soon Zacchaeus had a visitor for lunch. Again, Zacchaeus’s humility was on display, because without prompting he offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and pay back anyone he’d cheated four times the amount. While the crowds had pressed in to see what Jesus could do for them, Zacchaeus humbled himself, knowing he needed to change. That’s what humility does: it causes us to take a closer look at ourselves.
We may understand that we need to change before we can guide our kids to make better choices, but the one thing that truly makes change happen is humility. Yet it’s also a hard pill to swallow. It’s stripping off our smugness that declares, “I have my act together,” to reveal our flaws.
And just as Jesus spotted Zacchaeus and visited him, Jesus comes to us too. There are many who want Jesus for what they can get from him, but change only comes when our humility shows Jesus we’re ready to give up what we hold most closely: our right to ourselves.
Think about a time when you were wrong about something when it came to your kids. Did you humble yourself and own up to it?
When you do fail—because we all do at some point—be quick to seek forgiveness from your kids. First, it’s a good model for our kids to follow. Second, it helps restore hurts. And third, it invites Jesus into the moment. Our humility points to him.