Cover Photo: Tallulah Pomeroy
Tallulah Pomeroy

“God will not forgive until the person you have wronged forgives”: On Repentance, Faith, and Family Life

“God is sometimes easier to please than our fellow humans.”

This is Growing Faith, a column about parenting and faith coauthored by Saadia Faruqi and Shoshana Kordova. 

heshbon nefeshWe don’t hit people even if we want them to stop singing! No calling names!Bite food, not people!

Maimonides says true penitents are those who resist committing the same sin even when they find themselves in the same situation. Of course a young child isn’t considered to have sinned in any meaningful sense, but I was bothered by the lesson I thought I would be imparting, intentionally or not. Once she did get concepts like “mine” and “yours” and “sorry,” wouldn’t she be learning that all you have to do to show contrition is say a couple of magic words you don’t mean, and then commit the same offense when the next shiny new toy catches your eye? I had no doubt that my daughter was not going to start loving her neighbor as herself by virtue of a coerced, halfhearted-at-best “sorry.”

I’m sorry,


I’m sorry

Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American writer. She is the editor of Muslim literary journal Blue Minaret and author of the short story collection Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan. She lives in Houston with her husband and children. @saadiafaruqi

Shoshana Kordova is an Orthodox Jewish writer and editor raised in NJ and living in Israel. She has written for Smithsonian, Prevention, Quartz, NYT's Motherlode, and The Daily Beast. She has four daughters. @shoshanakordova

Shoshana and Saadia are co-founders of Have Faith, Will Parent, a meeting place for parents of all religions.