Homeschooling parents can be their own worst critic. Because the teacher inside strives for truth and accuracy, most have a tendency to judge themselves too harshly. Whenever I failed to teach a lesson perfectly or didn't have an immediate answer to my children's questions, I felt like a failure. After all, wasn't a teacher expected to know everything about every subject and have all the answers right at his fingertips? Thinking back, I now laugh at my foolish, unrealistic expectations of myself during those first years of homeschooling. Surprisingly, the hardest lesson learned in our homeschooling family was learned by me — no one's perfect, so learn from your mistakes and move on.

As Christians, we also have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves. We should seek holiness in our daily lives and strive to crucify the flesh's desire to sin, but we must also realize a very important fact — only Christ is perfect, and we are frail and but dust (Psalm 103:14). Since we inherit a sinful nature (Romans 3:23) and are susceptible to temptation, Christ knows us better than we know ourselves and challenges us to "watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). Although God knows how to "deliver the godly out of temptations" (2 Peter 2:9a) and provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13b), He also forgives us when we make mistakes and fail to listen to Him. As we come in repentance, Christ chooses not to deal with us according to our sins. Instead, His compassion removes our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:10-13).

How about you? Are you beating yourself up over a past sin you've already confessed to God? Dear child of God, you no longer have to be under Satan's false bondage of guilt. If you've confessed and repented, Christ has forgiven you. Learn from your mistake and smile again knowing you're a child of God. Claim for yourself one of the greatest promises in the Bible: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

Father, thank You for giving me new hope whenever I fail to follow You completely. Thank You for Your mercy and loving kindness that always encourage my heart to try again. In Jesus' name, Amen.