Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Parenting by Grace

I really appreciated this post from the Give Them Grace blog:

It wasn’t long ago that I treated my wife harshly in front of my kids and said some things I shouldn’t have said. And it wasn’t long after that, that I was impatient and unkind with my kids and spoke to them out of frustration. So there I was, the supposed exemplary husband and father whom they looked up to and wanted to be like, completely letting them down.

One of the biggest struggles I have as a father to three boys and a girl is fighting the urge to pretend that I have it all together. To reduce what it means to lead my children and be their example to merely keeping all the rules myself. Of course, the reason why it’s a struggle is because I don’t have it all together and I don’t keep all the rules. I don’t obey God perfectly like I want my children to. In my pride I want to prop myself up as a living example of what I desire them to be. Essentially I am communicating the message that they don’t need grace at all. Instead of my children learning and receiving the grace of God they are looking to this false example of someone who doesn’t need to receive grace because if they try hard enough they can have it all together too.

That isn’t giving them grace. That is giving them law rather than grace. That is giving them a lie and a false hope in something they will never be able to attain to. This confuses and frustrates them because they feel the disconnect between what they know to be true in their own heart (dad fails) and what they see is their dad's goal (someone who never blows it and when he does he acts as though he is right anyway).

One very real way you can give your kids grace is to be an example of a recipient of grace. Show them that you need to rely on grace because you actually sin too. You don’t need to hide it. You don’t need to justify it. You need to confess it to them and repent of it because God gives grace. Show them that you need the Savior. Stop pretending that you are the best example of Him and that you don’t really need what He accomplished on the cross. Lead your kids by the example you live as one who is being changed by the gospel of grace. Give them grace by demonstrating your own need for it. Free them from the bonds of thinking that the parents are good and the kids are bad. Remind them that you are partners in grace, both needing the forgiveness the Savior offers.

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