Monday, March 12, 2012

Grace Based Parenting

Sara and I are always looking for resources to help us in raising our kids in a way that pleases God, helps them to follow Jesus, and keeps us from going crazy! Children are a blessing from the Lord, but there is a heavy responsibility and a lot of hard work involved.

So what role does our faith in Christ play in parenting? It means everything! Not only is our most important role to guide our kids to know and love Jesus, but there is no way we can do the work of parenting without God's supernatural intervention. In a word, we need grace.

Grace is something that God gives to us that we don't deserve. In the gospel, God poured out His amazing grace on us by sending His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and then give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. He rose from the dead. And then, amazingly, God reached out to us (sinful people) and drew us to faith in Christ! Our salvation comes to us not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done for us. Amazing grace.

The concept of the book "Grace Based Parenting" is for us to parent our children in the same way God the Father parents us. God knows we are sinful people, and yet He still reached out to us and loved us in the gospel. In the same way, we know that our children are sinful people. After all, they are the products of sinful parents. Our role is to continue to reach out to our kids and love them even when they fail, which we know they will. We point them toward the amazing grace of God toward them in Christ. We forgive them and then guide them to walk in the truth.

Some people misunderstand grace. They see it as a license to live any way they want to because God will always forgive them. We call that abusing the grace of God. Not good. If we teach our kids that they can live any way they want to, we do them an eternal disservice.

However, others receive the grace of God and think that now they have to remain in God's good graces by never doing anything wrong. They set up a law for themselves (and their children) so that they will never step out of bounds. Obviously there are things we should and shouldn't do. But the law of love laid out for us in the gospel is one in which we are compelled to love God and love our neighbors because of what Christ has done for us. When we fail to follow that law of love, we have sinned. We are called to confess our sin to God, but we are never outside of His grace. Each day, each hour, each minute is chance to renew our relationship with God.

O may God help us to continue walking in His grace each day, and be parents who show that grace to our kids. Check out Tim Kimmel's book "Grace Based Parenting". I see it as a bit of a primer for helping us parents to live out the grace of God as we raise our kids.

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