Last weekend I had the honor of preaching at our church (www.fbcjax.net) about how grace shapes our parenting. As many of you know, I love every opportunity that I have to preach the Gospel. Although I was excited, I was also extremely nervous. See, sometimes you preach about a truth that you have learned or have experienced and other times you are preaching about something you are learning and are experiencing. In this case, this sermon was a reflection of what God is currently teaching me and my family. By no means have I perfected how to parent through the lens of grace. Instead, this is an area that God is shaping me in how I love my kids.
This conversation started several weeks ago when I began asking myself this question, “when my kids grow up, will they know how gracious their heavenly father is, by the way, their earthly father parent’s them?” Another way I asked this question was, “do my kids see the grace of God in my parenting or just the discipline of God?” Discipline is essential in Godly parents but so is grace. So how do we balance those two and why is parenting with grace in mind so important?THE LENS THAT YOU PARENT THROUGH TODAY WILL BE THE LENS THEY SEE GOD THROUGH TOMORROW Click To Tweet
The parent/child relationship is the most important earthly relationship our kids will experience. Everyone is affected, for the positive or negative based on the type of relationships that we experience with our parents. For example; I am a Clemson Tigers fan, #goTigers. Why? I did not go to Clemson. I was not raised near Clemson. I am a Clemson fan because my mom and dad were. Their passions became my passion. When our kids see what we are passionate about they will likely become passionate about those same things. The way that we parent them now will affect the way that they see God in the future. This is why it’s so important for our parenting to be saturated with grace. Because the lens that you parent through today will be the lens they see God through tomorrow.
So how can we parent with Grace in mind? Here are a few points that we talked about this weekend and a few that we did not.
#1: IDENTIFY THEIR HEART, NOT JUST THEIR BEHAVIOR:
Parenting behavior comes naturally by our actions are easier to identify than our hearts desires. Our actions present themselves and we have to have conversations about the heart. So how? Before we issue consequences we have a conversation about their “why”. Consequence’s and discipline are essential in biblical parenting. I have found that consequences are most productive when they follow a conversation about their hearts desires that lead them to act out.
#2: ENCOURAGE TRANSPARENCY OVER PERFORMANCE:
Parenting with grace in mind means that we give them room to make mistakes. Kids/Teens are going to mess up and this does not mean that we let them off the hook but parenting with grace in mind does mean that we create the home as a safe place to have conversations about their struggles and failures. Grace parenting gives kids the freedom to stop performing for you and to start being transparent with you. If we don’t give our kids room to make mistakes, how do we expect them to talk to you when they are struggling with their identity, or cutting or purity or doubting God? The danger is they will never feel comfortable talking with me about their sins and their struggles because they are constantly worried that they have broken one of my rules, they have let me down or that they will never live up to my standards. My ultimate desire for my children is not compliance to my standards, it’s to experience the same grace that I have experienced. And the lens that we parent through has a direct impact on how they see the grace of God.
#3: TEACH THEM THE GOSPEL:
In my life, the best way to parent with grace in mind is to have regular conversations with my kids about the Gospel. We have conversations when we are in the truck on the way to school, on the way to soccer practice, at nights and when they mess up (Deut. 6). We are constantly talking about how much Jesus loved us despite our ability to be perfect or to earn a relationship with to Him. The more we have Gospel conversations the more our kids will see the grace of God in our lives. After all, our parenting substance is an overflow of our worship substance. One of the tools that we use to help families talk about the Gospel with their kids is the Parent Cue App. You can download it HERE or read about how to use it HERE.
I would love to hear some of the ways that you parent with grace in mind. Thanks!