Monday, April 5, 2010


Every Sunday we fill the pews, listen to the messages, and are thankful for the grace God extends to us daily. But as we pile back in the van, does the grace continue? Do we extend grace to our kids in the same way God extends grace to us?

We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Do we consider our children as our neighbors? For if we, loving ourselves, seek from God mercy and grace, should we not also extend mercy and grace in equal measure as we have received?

A friend and I had a challenging conversation about parenting and grace last week. My job as a parent is to accurately reflect the nature of God in my relationship with my children. Unfortunately, I tend to only reflect the character of God as Judge.

"What does parenting with grace really look like?" After years of parenting in an authoritative manner, my friend has found that the discipline was creating obedient bodies but was not reaching the heart.

This is a frightening realization for any parent. If obedience, our children's or our own, is not from the heart, we are nothing better than Pharisees.

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Matthew 15:8

How have we come to this? How is it that devoted, prayerful parents, parents dedicated to teaching the principles of faith, have children whose hearts are on a permanent moral vacation?

Somewhere along the line, many of us were given a promise. Discipline the child and he will love you. Discipline the child and he will not stray. Train him up in the way he should go and he will not depart. Yet their hearts are departing.

About two years ago, I came across a verse that has radically changed my focus in parenting.
Romans 2:4 - Do you think lightly of the kindness, tolerance, and patience of the Lord, not knowing that the kindness of the Lord leads to repentance?

That's what I really want, repentance. I don't need my kids to think my way, act my way, live my way. I need them to live with a soft heart, willing to see their own sin and need of a Savior. If the Lord leads me to repentance with kindness, can the same be true with my own children? In order for me to accurately reflect God in my children's lives, I must learn to discipline with kindness, tolerance, and patience. In other words, I must parent with grace.

But the question remains, what does it look like to parent with grace? It is not a quick formula or an easy to memorize method, because that is not how God deals with me. His love for me, and his discipline of me is unique. Therefore, parenting by grace will look unique in each home, and for each child.

In the coming weeks, I will be reading the Bible with an eye out for moments of grace. I am looking for where God shows us grace, and then thinking about how I can extended that same aspect of grace to my children. I will share what I find here on my blog, along with a good dose of humility for how often I fail in my endeavors of grace.

A final thought from Psalm 103:

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
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.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

Lord, help me today to remember that my children are but dust. That they, just like me, are in constant need of compassion and grace. Lord I cannot love them like this in my own strength ~ for my own heart is often far from You. So begin in me, help me to accept that I am in need of grace.

No comments:

Post a Comment