Some of you know I'm reading a book called, "Give Them Grace" by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It's breaking down the walls of some of the parenting books I've read in the past; back when I was a new mom. It's unbelievable how such teachings can take hold. This book, Give Them Grace, is a breath of fresh air.
I used to be one of those who avoided any parenting books that displayed the word "grace" in the title because automatically I thought they were telling parents to let their children do whatever they wanted. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Instead, this book draws out our need for Jesus, and shows us our children have the same need. It shouldn't be any surprise that our children are sinners just like we are. But somehow we hold them to a higher standard then we hold ourselves.
We can also put so much emphasis on behavior modification that we fail to lead them to the throne of grace, where Christ waits to extend forgiveness upon repentance. When our children don't consistently produce the good behavior we seek, we become consistently angry and frustrated. Our mentality here is all wrong. Our goal shouldn't be behavior modification.
Give Them Grace addresses parenting as an idol in chapter 3. What happens is parents get so consumed with trying to "work" at raising perfect children so their children will be saved, it becomes an idol in their lives. The problem is, it's not up to us to save our children. Does that mean we don't discipline and teach godly character? Not at all. It simply means when our children mess up (and they will), it's our duty to lead them to the cross. But ultimately, God is the changer of hearts.
That's where they can be face to face with how they cannot be obedient 100% of the time, which is the reason they need Jesus. Together, we thank Jesus for his sacrifice so He could extend us grace and keep going.
I am terrible about showing my children God's grace. And why? Because I've grown to believe that children need the law and nothing more. The twisting of Scriptures in one parenting book has shaped this way of parenting for me. Now I'm at a place where I need a complete paradigm shift.
Our children are not saved by the law, just like we are not saved by the law. The law is important. Yes! It has it's place. But obeying it perfectly (which is impossible) will not win the favor of God for salvation. And we cannot save our children by "perfect parenting" because that, too, does not exist. God will not make everything turn out the way we want because of our "righteous parenting".
"Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 2:16
"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Galatians 2:21
Following the law isn't bad, so long as we're doing it for the right reason. When our relationship with the Lord deepens, so does our desire to please Him. It pleases Him when we obey out of a heart of love for Him. It still doesn't save us. Only faith in Jesus and what He's done on the cross can do that.
It's as if we can say the truth of the gospel, but we have a hard time grabbing hold of it, because, well, it seems too easy. In some aspects, it is easy! It's a simple truth we've complicated. On the contrary, the Christian life is definitely not one of ease.
The law gives us false hope that if our children are obeying it well, their hearts must be right with God. This is not the case and we need to recognize this lie as soon as may be.
This is really a freeing thing because the burden of their salvation was never mine to carry. My job is to lead and train. Only God can take it from there.
What are your thoughts on extending more grace to your children?