When we struggle to walk in grace in our own lives, it effects our ability to give grace to others. If we are going to raise our children to walk in grace and truth, we need to do it as well. Grace is a gift, but you have to receive it. I always feel like I need to put a disclaimer in here: This is not a license to sin and become complacent. It is a gift God has given us that we can pass on to our children. It's a net that catches us when we fall, not for us to jump into. It's a place to find rest before we get back up.
We can mother with graciousness versus hostility. There is no reason to snap at our children when they ask us questions or even get into mischief. The better alternative is to simply speak with words of grace. Not always easy, right?
It's hard to bring out the best in our children when they seem committed to bringing out the worst in us. -Grace Based Parenting, pg. 30
Leading them into truth is as simple as teaching them the Word of God. But, sometimes we have it wrong, don't we? We find it's hard to keep that balance between law and grace. Our motives become skewed and we perform out of duty rather than live out of love.
In order to parent with grace, we need to walk in grace. And just as important, we need to admit to our children when we've wronged them.
We can get so caught up in following the law that it becomes about their performance rather than God's grace. If not kept in balance, it is a disease that sucks the life out of what Christ died to restore.
I am not saying we need to throw out all the rules and let our children run wild. I am saying that it's how we present the rules and handle mistakes that sets grace apart from law. It's living in grace and truth. They go hand in hand.
Dr. Tim Kimmel put it this way,
Grace does not exclude obedience, respect, boundaries, or discipline, but it does determine the climate in which these important parts of parenting are carried out. -Grace Based Parenting, p. 20
There is a place for rules, even for strictness, in a grace-based home, but how they are presented makes all the difference on how they are received. p. 40
There are two ways we can cheapen grace:
- By not upholding boundaries that God has called us to as a set apart people.
- By living in a works-based faith and focusing on behavior management. If it's not empowered by God's indwelling of "can't help it" heart change, it only leads to self-righteousness.
Having well-behaved children or children who perform well should not be our ultimate goal.
Philip Yancey says,
You can know the law by heart without knowing the heart of it. -What's So Amazing About Grace?, p. 195
Over the next few weeks, I challenge you to really ponder how you parent. Think about how you respond to disobedience or sheer childishness. On the other hand, are you setting boundaries for your children that are known? How can we mesh these two together to get a good balance of grace and godliness (not legalism)? I also want to encourage you read Titus 2:11-14.
Next month I will share another part of the equation right here on The Better Mom. Join us?