So much of raising kids tends to focus on behavior management…how do you get them to obey? How to you get them to be kind, compassionate, responsible, courteous, generous, honest, confident, and humble? How to you get them to stop hitting, whining, biting, throwing fits, wetting their pants, and leaving their things all over the house, car and yard?
Sometimes it feels like raising kids becomes “how do you help your kids not be disgusting?” Wear deodorant, take a shower, don’t pick your nose, stop scratching there, go to the bathroom to do ‘that’ and so on and so forth. Other really important lessons are guiding them to understand the value of work and the value of money. We want to instill a strong work ethic and a good understanding of how to manage your money. This is a lot of pressure and I’m barely scratching the surface of all the demands and expectations as we’re raising up the next generation.
And then, there’s GRACE. How does grace fit in to all of these expectations? Grace is a free, undeserved, unearned gift. Grace is how God has shown favor on us as His children. He loves us and gave us the gift of eternal life even though we can’t do anything to earn or deserve this gift. Ephesians 2: 8-10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
Children have a hard time understanding grace because developmentally they think concretely. Kids tend to think in black and white terms. So, how do we raise responsible, respectful kids who are fun to be around….aaaaaaand, kids who understand God’s grace deep, deep down? We love unconditionally! Even when kids are not acting ‘loveable’ we extend love to them. I know, we always love our kids, but do we always show them and tell them that we love them? Often, when kids are in trouble or being difficult, our reaction is to withhold affection. Break through that natural tendency and express love as you are guiding your children to do what is right. Grace doesn’t mean that we never suffer consequences. Grace means that we still love and continue a strong relationship through the consequences. When we as adults make a poor decision, we still suffer the consequence of the poor decision—however, God still loves us, still died for us, still gives us the gift of eternal life. When our kids make a poor decision, they still need to suffer the consequence of the poor decision—however, we will still love them, still sacrifice for them, and still give them the gift of unconditional acceptance.
The small step this week in our Family Discipleship Path will look differently depending on the age and stage of the children in your life. I challenge you to make an effort to extend love to your kids in the midst of consequences or rough situations. If you’re having a great week and that’s not really a big enough challenge for you, then I challenge you to find ways to show grace to your kids…give unexpected, undeserved, unearned gifts. Do something fun—just because, go out for a treat—just because, let them set the agenda for the evening—just because!!
Please take a moment to share the reactions of your children when you extended expressions of love during rough situations. Share your ideas of how to show grace to your kids during the happy times.
First things first, don’t place any bad tones of voice, bad feelings from me, or ANY thing derogatory at all in the words that I am about to type.
Ok, grace or graciousness is not a gift, you either are or your not gracious, or you will or won’t learn to be gracious. God, because He loves us and is gracious, sent His son to die for us, and because He is gracious He has given us many things, because He is gracious, like mercy…
In Ephesians 2:8 the gift is NOT grace, it is faith and before you exit out please read on, this response is Biblically based. You must open your mind and heart to this, I did not “figure this out” with my brain. It has been taught for a VERY long time that grace is a gift, graciousness is not a gift, God is gracious because it is part of who He is. First read Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Now read Romans 10:1-12:3 with emphasis on 12:3 and thinking back on what Paul was talking about. “…according as GOD has dealt, to every man, the measure of faith.” Keeping in mind what Paul is talking about in Romans 10:1 -chapter 11 read Philippians 1:29. “For unto you it is given, on the behalf of Jesus, not only to believe on Him…” The Greek word that faith now replaces is pistis and it means persuasion. If someone is trying to persuade you of something then they need proof, evidence, etc… John 15:26, “…He,the Holy Spirit, will TESTIFY of Me.” To testify is: To make a solemn declaration, verbal or written, to establish some fact; to give testimony for the purpose of communicating to others a knowledge of something not known to them., OR to offer evidence of something not seen, Hebrews 11:1. We are saved by grace, because God is gracious, through faith, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith, the measure of faith , evidence of Jesus Christ to confirm what is being “foolishly preached” (1st Corinthians 1:21?) Read what Jesus told Peter in Matt 16:13-17.
I know that what you were believing about grace has been preached for a long time, but it is not true. What I shared with you is what God shared with me. I used to belong to a Baptist Church and then a Wesleyan church and I have visited countless others, and there were questions that I would ask that I would get different answers on from different people so I decided to go to the source and thus began a journey of knowledge that I could not have ever dreamed of.
I hope that the Holy Spirit has been able to renew your mind with this knowledge that I have shared with you. Isaiah 64:4, For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. The word wait cannot be thought of in the normal sense of the word wait, as in being patient and wait on God, it means through the idea of piercing, to adhere to, also to intrench. Also take into consideration what Isaiah says here, no men have heard, nor perceived by the ear (understood by what they have heard) neither have seen with their eyes.