Don’t get me wrong. I want my kids to obey. What I wouldn’t give. But obedience to the law isn’t my ultimate hope for them. My ultimate prayer as a parent is that each of my children would passionately love their God and then spill out His love onto people. Obedience follows.
But if I’m honest, in the practicalities of the day-to-day, I get entangled in the battle for their obedience. Yet rules and laws won’t ever change their hearts. Rules and laws won’t grow love.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in (God’s) sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
We need rules and laws in our homes because by the law we know what’s right and wrong. But the law doesn’t make me want to obey. The law doesn’t stir love in me. It actually makes me want to rebel.
I may choose to obey externally because I don’t like the consequences to disobedience. But the law in and of itself won’t change my heart. Or the hearts of our children. And we step onto dangerous ground as parents when we expect the law to transform their inner being.
What changes the inner man, transforming us from the inside out, is the Maker of heaven and earth. More specifically an encounter with the great grace of God. An encounter with Jesus. The Father’s kindness and grace as seen in Christ draws us to Him.
So I wanted to list four ways we can express God’s grace in our homes especially when our children disobey “the law.”
Yep. Pray. Pray we have His vision for them. Pray we reflect Him in our response. And pray they see His love, in spite of their rebellion.
Respond. Not react.
Easier said than done when emotions flare. In the midst of disobedience, it’s wise to send them to their own space while we gain His perspective. Being slow to speak has great reward.
Place expectation in its proper place
Yes, I want them to obey. But the truth is, even I don’t obey and I’m thirty-something. I fail every single day. We can expect that they too will fail. But we can also expect that God’s grace is sufficient. We can expect that in spite of me or them, He keeps pursuing and forgiving.
Use acts of disobedience to reveal their need.
Every act of disobedience is proof that we need a Savior. We can’t be good enough. Our flesh is weak. There’s only One way to reach God, and it’s through the grace of Jesus. So I tell my kids, “This shows again how much we need Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you, work in you, and then thank Him for His continual grace.”
We have rules in our home. We give lots of consequences. But I also pray we reflect God’s grace. Because it’s His love that leads to true heart repentance.
Fill me, Lord…
How else can we show grace in our parenting?