This week, we're in Chapter 4 of the Give Them Grace book club. To join us, all you need is a copy of Give Them Grace. After that, read these posts:
Join us in the Family Discipleship Facebook Group for more discussion throughout the week!
Everyone Is The Prodigal
This chapter really hit home for me! It stepped on the toes of this rule-follower who struggles to acknowledge her own sin while fuming over someone else's victory over it after breaking all the rules. In fact, I wrote a post about it a couple of years ago–that inner fight to rejoice in the wayward heart coming home and seeking out the root of sin in my own.
But, against popular belief, we are all prodigals on one side of the fence or the other. We either stick so closely to the rules that we think we are in the clear, or we are the prodigal that has to learn the hard way before running back to the Father. Either way we are in sin. And we have the same overwhelming grace that comes rushing in to save us.
“For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion or disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is…faith expressed in love.” Galatians 5:6 [Message]
The authors write, “None of us breaks the rules or loves each other like we should.” And isn't that the truth. Even if we are the rule-followers, if we act in frustration or anger at others who are not following the rules like us, is that showing the love of God to our brother/sister in Christ?
“The law doesn't transform the heart…it only hardens [us] in pride and despair.”
Mercy Trumps Law
After we realize that we are all either the prodigal son that squandered his inheritance or the “prodigal son” who thought his rule-following earned his righteousness, we have to learn to let mercy overtake the law.
“It is only when you parent with grace that the destitution of both children becomes apparent.”
And if I am to be completely vulnerable, the moment I was able to realize this in my children and begin pointing it out to them, the Holy Spirit began allowing me to self-evaluate my own heart. And that is the other part of the equation. We not only have to show the children in an argument that each of them has some heart issues to work on, but we also need to be transparent enough to show them our own sin, if we are not in right standing with God.
“Consistent, transparent, and specific confession of sin will help children see how their parents struggle with sin in the same ways that they do.”
And not only if we react out of anger, but if it is a more inward sin like pride or self-righteousness, which is more easily hidden or swept under the rug if not repented of.
“Most parents know enough to confess their anger to their children. But do we regularly confess our Self-righteousness and Pride?”
The Law Hinders
Well, the law itself doesn't hinder. The law actually gives us healthy boundaries and security. But the moment we elevate the law over love and mercy we begin to plant seeds into our children that their actions are what will get them into good graces with their Heavenly Father (and us).
“We hinder our children from enjoying God's embrace when we teach them that their religious activity and obedience elevates them out of the category of sinner in need of mercy.”
God Will Redeem Our Parenting Failures
If you really think about it, we have a HUGE job as parents. How are we supposed to be able to parent in the way we ought to 100% of the time? And if we can't, how are our children ever going to grasp the grace of God the way they ought?
The cool thing is that God is the one who really holds our children and their future. We get to be PART of the seeds planted in their hearts for the time that they are entrusted to us, but even when we screw up (and we most certainly will, because we are ALL prodigals in need of grace!) we can trust that the Lord loves all His children and is holding them in the palm of His hand.
“He can break through all our flawed methods and redeem all our frail errors.”
After reading chapter 4 of Give Them Grace, what do you have to say about the law and how it can actually be a hindrance? Have you been more concerned about teaching obedience or the need for a Savior? Share your thoughts in the comments below and in the Family Discipleship Facebook Group.
Have you written a blog post on chapter 4 that you'd like to share? Please add it to the link-up!
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