It’s getting what you don’t deserve.
It’s giving what others don’t deserve.
It sounds beautiful… precious… good… confusing… and, if I’m honest, a hint of “wishy-washy.”
I know I need it.
Apart from God’s grace, I am nothing!
Yet, how do I pour out grace on my children?… you know the little one with her tiny spaghetti-covered index fingers stuck up her nose, the little boy who hides poop balls in his fan (I mean, who does that!?), and the girls arguing over the one baby doll (out of the forty-two hundred baby dolls stashed in our house… okay, exaggerating slightly) that happens to come with a magnetic pacifier and little hooded ducky blanket!?
If I “give them what they don’t deserve,” does that mean that I stick a lollipop in my little lady’s hands distracting her from her nose, graciously allow my little boy to leave poop balls stuck in the fan, and buy four extra baby dolls with magnetic pacifiers and little hooded ducky blankets so that everyone has their own?
I think all too often we have a wrong viewpoint on grace, as if it means giving in, getting rid of the rules and the “laws”, and getting plowed over as we give the world, with all its delights and pleasures, to our children.
But that’s not what grace is all about!
For if we look at God’s grace, we see something much different.
He didn’t give in to our sinful selfish ways.
While we were wrapped up in our sinful ways, He gave us His Son.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
He didn’t get rid of all the rules and the “law” and the godly ways we should live.
He used the law to point to our desperate need for a Savior.
“So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24
He didn’t give us the world, with all its delights and pleasures, either.
He gave us a way to overcome the world.
“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5
And He gave us SO much more…His kindness, unmerited favor, and forgiving love.
Grace is not “wishy-washy;”
Grace is a deep, continual act of love that is completely unmerited.
And what’s even more amazing thing about grace (as if it could get any better) is that it is not only the undeserved love God showed us in Christ… this same grace also instructs us and leads us to truth. It helps us to know the truth, and that it is only by the amazing work God has done in our lives that we could ever be changed on the inside and live a life pleasing to Him.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)
See how grace leads to truth? His truth?
As I studied these words (Can you tell I’ve spent some time in Titus 2 lately?), I learned that the word “instructing” means the same thing as “training a child” with four parts… instructing, encouraging, correcting, and disciplining. Wow! That means the grace of God brings salvation, AND it instructs, encourages, corrects, and disciplines us to live godly lives! (I look forward to taking a deeper look at these four words in the coming weeks.)
Parenting with grace and truth-
It does NOT mean that we give in to their selfish sinful ways.
It does NOT mean that we get rid of all the rules and the “law.” (Although we certainly should continually be praying over and reevaluating the standards we have set in our homes, and we must be careful to realize that following these rules is NOT the way to salvation!))
It does NOT mean we give our children the world, with all its delights and pleasures.
It DOES mean that we give them Jesus.
It DOES mean that we show them our and their need for a Savior.
It DOES mean that we pray that they will become overcomers of this world.
It DOES mean that we continually give the act of love.
It DOES mean reading the Word (which is truth) to our children.
It DOES mean that we pour out unmerited favor by guiding them in truth… through instruction, encouragement, correction, and discipline.
Parenting with grace and truth means that we lovingly come alongside our children as fellow sinners in need of grace, and gently point them to our Savior and HIS incredible grace… and truth.
“…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
What does parenting with grace and truth look like in YOUR home?