Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
Mother's Day is around the corner and really? I never put much thought into it. My family is gracious enough to honor me, but I find it an awkward day altogether. I cannot take credit for anything good that comes of being a mother. My flesh is always at battle with my sinful, selfish self.
The more exposed I find myself to be, the more I want to cling to Him and be covered in His grace. The very fact that God offers grace, drives me to Him all the more. Even if I feel shamed (by my own sin and choice), I still know I can go to Him.
The key to finding real mercy, is real repentance.
It's through recognizing the ugliness of sin that reveals the true beauty of grace.
The story of Mary Magdalen paints a picture of this well in Luke 7. She was a sinner, who recognized how ugly her sin was (and so did everyone around her). She came to the mercy seat (or feet) of Jesus, knowing who He was and how messed up she was. Because of her recognition of her ugly sin, the mercy of Jesus was so great to her that she honored Him with expensive perfume poured on His feet.
And what were those around her saying? They were mortified! This sinful woman coming around Jesus and wasting a year's wages!? She emptied herself at the feet of Jesus, weeping over her sin, while simultaneously loving Jesus with all she had for his great mercy. She knew the weight of her sin. She recognized it. The forgiveness of Jesus empowered her to love greatly.
The Pharisee whose house Jesus was dining at didn't recognize himself as a sinner. If you've read the Gospels, you know well how the Pharisees acted. They were proud and they didn't love well. Why? Because they didn't recognize their sin. They didn't show mercy because they didn't have repentance.
When we recognize our great need for Jesus and how great His mercy extends, it should spill over into the lives of our children. Showing mercy means offering forgiveness, even to our children. Sometimes it can seem as if our children are "out to get us" or purposely offend us with their words or actions. Maybe some are?
We need to remember how much we have been forgiven, by recognizing how ugly our sin is, in order to forgive and offer mercy to our children in the every day.
"But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47
This doesn't mean you need to have the testimony of a murderer who came to know Christ. It means you need to recognize your sin is just as ugly as the murderers.
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." James 2:10
Your children need mercy from you and they need to know what repentance means. It's not merely being sorry for our sins (although, for small children this may be the extent of their understanding). It's also turning around and walking in the other direction, away from sin.
God has given us a great opportunity to reflect who He is to our children. Will we mess up? Yes! If we sin against our children, we need to go to them and admit we've failed and ask forgiveness. This incredible act of humility will teach your children things you couldn't teach with your words alone.
And when your children slip up and make a mistake, show mercy. I'm not saying to throw away consequences or discipline. I'm simply saying there is a better way to handle mistakes than flying off the handle. Even through the discipline, showing mercy can have a deep impact on the heart of a child.
I know it has for me.
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