Monday, June 27, 2011

Graceful Parenting

In the past year or so, something has happened to me.  Some scales have been lifted off my eyes, and I feel as though I’ve been brought into a place of new understanding about grace.  And I know that this is what it means to be sanctified - to be continually saved, to continually learn, to continually be made new.  I will never “arrive” and the work will be unfinished until I enter into the pearly gates.  But I don’t think until God brings you to this place, you will understand until your scales have been lifted off too.  Many of us as Christians believe that we do God’s work.  And in fact, God does use us to do His work, but He does the work.  Only He can receive credit for the work He does.  Many of us are misguided about kingdom work and how to be involved in doing it.  I can say that because I was once misguided.  Not that I think we should not ever volunteer at church, but when God calls you to do something, you are going to be involved in kingdom work and you are going to know it - His hand prints, not yours, will be all over it.

When it comes to grace and raising kids, this is one thing I’ve noticed:  It is easy for other people to pass judgment on parents when kids are not acting like people think they ought.  It is easy for people to sit back, wag their fingers and say you should have spanked him/her or even worse, they casually blame Miley Cyrus or some other well known figure for all children’s misbehaviors since so and so lets their kids watch whatever that show is that Miley was on.  It is easy to have an opinion.  Perhaps, less so easy to actually raise the kids.  When we judge, we condemn. 

How can we really know all there is to know about another person’s child unless we’ve tried to do the parenting of that child ourselves? 

When it comes to watching Miley Cyrus or not, some kids may be able to watch to their hearts content and be totally oblivious to the things they see and others may not.  You have to know your child and make electronic interface (TV, computer, iPod, gaming devices) choices based on what is suitable to their personality.  Honestly, I’ve made a lot of choices about those things that I’ve had to re-evaluate as I’ve seen the effects on my kids.  With my next statement, I am not saying that we should not censor certain things from our children until an age appropriate time.  But children will oftentimes be exposed to things like Miley Cyrus before we want them to be exposed to them.  As parents, it is our job to recognize exposure and teach truth when it happens.  This is what it means when the Bible says to talk to your children as you walk along the road and when you sit and basically whenever you do anything, you are to teach the ways of the Lord to your children.  Honestly, because I believe God speaks and cares about how I raise my children, I know He will correct me when I make a mistake.  He is the most loving of parents.

As an "other Christian", it is not your job to judge other’s parenting skills or talk about them behind their back.  To be a graceful Christian, it is your job to instruct clueless parents.  Instruction and correction must be done in love.  Raising a child is hard.  It is first and foremost the parent’s responsibility, but as the body of Christ, it is always our responsibility to give grace to the parents and grace to the children.  I hope to talk about generational curses and a picture of grace in our family life soon.

What does grace look like in your family?

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