If you’re anything like me, you’ve read more than your fair share of parenting books. Maybe even a few Christian ones. After all, don’t we all want our children to turn out okay? To be happy? To get a good job, have a nice family? To be “good” people?
Good. Huh. Funny word.
I recently read a book that turned my philosophy on parenting upside-down. Tullian Tchividjian writes that Give Them Grace by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson “takes the radical, untamable, outrageous nature of the gospel seriously and applies it to parenting.”
And it does.
It’s almost crazy how we tend to parent our children. I don’t know about you, but the majority of my energy spent parenting goes into making sure my kids behave. Speak respectfully. Love one another—ahem, especially your brother. Share your toys. Do your homework. Listen to ME. Just be good for goodness sake!
But who are we to tell our kids they need to be good? They can’t be good. We can’t be good.
We all need a Savior. And I can’t be my children’s Savior. I can’t even try. It’s too exhausting, too impossible. All I can do is point them to Jesus. Dazzle them with His love.
I can picture some of you getting antsy in your seat. But what about discipline? What about order and expectations? Please be assured that Give Them Grace does not advocate bad behavior in children. We are parents. God has given us our children as a gift. It is our responsibility to train them. But God is in charge. And if we don’t acknowledge that, if we don’t lead our children to God’s love every day, we are missing the point.
Grace isn’t about good behavior or morality. It’s not about second chances. And it’s certainly not about hypocrisy and self-righteous thinking. It’s about one thing: resting in Jesus’s blood and His righteousness. So give them Jesus.
Give them grace.
And when they behave badly and their words or actions pierce your heart, give them more. Not because it’s in your power to do so, but because your faith is in grace Himself, Jesus Christ.
If there’s one parenting book I’d choose to guide me, Give Them Grace would be the winner by far.
Next week I’ll be sharing a special Bible for children that is like no other and encompasses the message of grace. Until then, what do you think of parenting with grace? Do you often struggle like I do? How do you dazzle your kids with the love of Jesus?
I’m over at Lia London’s blog today talking about why I call myself a grace-clinger. I’d love it if you stopped by!