We can’t parent our children with God’s grace if we haven’t embraced it ourselves. I don’t mean to imply that moms and dads who love the Lord aren’t truly saved. I’m talking about Christian parents who struggle to live their lives with a tangible awareness of the love and grace Christ offers us each day.
Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t an invitation to white-knuckle our way through life and try harder, all the while fearing that we just don’t cut it. It was an invitation to find peace and true life in Him. That comes from fully embracing the reality that there is absolutely nothing that we can add to His work on the cross. His sacrifice frees us to live in His love, not in an effort to win His favor, but out of gratitude and awe for the way that He has loved us – the real, broken, flawed, imperfect us.
That’s the message that we all want to instill in our children.
But, again … we can’t give away something we don’t have.
Which, of course, is why our parenting often resembles the lack of grace we sense in our own Christian walks. Apart from God’s grace, we’re weighed down by a cruel lie – perfect parenting produces perfect kids.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Raising children exposes our weaknesses. Parenting isn’t meant to be God’s test to see whether or not we can achieve perfection, it’s meant to stretch us and to make us rely on Jesus even more than we did before our children were born.
Grace in parenting is responding with God’s grace to our child’s sin and weaknesses. It’s weaving the unconditional love of God into our methods for establishing our authority, requiring obedience, and training and disciplining our kids.
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