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Giving Your Children the Gift of Grace

07 Jul

**I’m very behind in posting for The Ministry of Motherhood reading, but I’m working to get caught up. This is the first of 3 discussion posts to come (my goal is before the end of the weekend).**


Dictionary.com defines grace as:

  • elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
  • a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
  • favor or good will.
  • a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior.
  • mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace.
  • favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
  • an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied (aka, grace period)
  • Theology:
  • the freely given, unmerited favor and love of god.
  • the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
  • a virtue or excellence of divine origin.
  • Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God’s favor or one of the elect.
  • moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.

A derivative of the latin word gratus which means pleasing, grace is such a small, simple word to have so many meanings. Used in 159 different scriptures in the KJV Bible (but only 92 in the NLT version), certainly God means for this little word to have a big impact in our life.

What jumps out at me from the above definitions are favor and mercy. God’s Word promises both favor and mercy to us, His children, and I can’t for a moment believe that there isn’t something spiritually deeper in the fact that grace is defined as both favor and mercy. Again, both are small words that have big impact on our life.

In The Ministry of Motherhood (p.28), Sally says:

Each of them for us, like Jesus, to extend to him or her the gift of constant love, grace, and forgiveness. And we can only do this by relying continually on the grace of our own relationship with the Lord.

I’m struggling to understand where it went wrong though. Why is it so hard for parents to show grace to their children? It’s not just in my household, it’s all around us, and it’s contributing to the social problems of the current and future generations. Where in history can we stop the timeline and mark the dot where it all started to go wrong?

Time is a precious commodity in our busy, media-intense and material-consumed world. We think we give our children grace by giving in to them, by buying them what they want or signing them up for a dozen different activities, when we best show them grace as we live our lives by example. How much time do we spend with them? How much do we allow ourselves as a parent to have a willing heart to take the time to life our children up in encourage and support rather than expecting someone else to do it for us?

I’m not perfect; I’m certainly guilty of putting things before time with my children and I’m ever so thankful to know God extends His grace to me because of that. And now with God’s convictions on my heart and teenage boys in my house, this is something that weighs heavily on both my heart and my soul. How many times have I cried out to Him during my prayer time, “How do I fix what I’ve spent so many years done wrong?”

And now my soul hears a whispered answer. With grace. With mercy and favor; with kindness, and patience and tolerance. You take each step at a time, start each day fresh and new, look with My eyes.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. When my boys drive me nuts, I take a few deep breaths and try to change my perspective of the situation. I try to figure out the source of the problem – is it a communication issue, confusion, a lack of something, a simple bout of laziness?

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I feel we give them too much grace and not enough loving discipline. It’s a fine line in the sand and the more I look the more it seems like it changes daily. I just have to put my faith in my God and trust Him to guide us all through.

Ministry of Motherhood Study Questions, Ch 1-4: Grace

1. Read Romans 2:4. According to this verse, what leads us to repent? How specifically does God want you to extend his grace to your children so that his kindness, through you, will lead them to repentance?

We repent because of God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience with us, and he wants us to grant those same things to our children.


2. Read Mark 14:66-72 and then 1 Peter 4:8. Knowing that Christ gave Peter grace after he failed so miserably, how would he have you extend this kind of grace to your own children? What would this look like in your daily interactions?

Not be so harsh with then when they make a mistake. Be more forgiving, more patient, give them more time to do what they’re told.

3. The last night Jesus had with his disciples, he called them “little children” (John 13:33). Does this tell you anything about his attitude towards these grown men who were his most devoted followers?

He loves them as if they were his own children.

Read John 14:1 and see what his continued response was to Peter after he had confronted him with the fact that he would deny Christ. How does this show the loving grace that Jesus extended to his disciples? How does he want you to extend it to your children?

Jesus didn’t want him to worry, he wanted Peter to continue putting his faith in Jesus and in God. He’s demonstrating the kindness and patience referred to in Romans 2:4.

4. The Bible makes it clear that we are to disciple and correct our children when they do wrong. How do you do this faithfully while still giving them the gift of grace?

With love. I think we have to step back and look at the situation more calmly from an outside perspective, or the perhaps the child’s perspective. We have to take the time to speak lovingly and kindly to them, to show them again how to properly do whatever needs to be done or said. We have to give them the kindness and grace that God shows us.

5. Write down what tends to irritate you about each of your children and sometimes keeps you from showing God’s gracious love. Pray for each child he has given into your hands and make a plan for how you will respond more graciously to him or her, especially in those irritating situations.

I haven’t written anything down, but I am praying for my children and me.

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Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Faith

 

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