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Are You Parenting with Grace?

August 1, 2009

Are you parenting with grace? How is the gospel working out in your home. How are you raising your children to cherish and follow Jesus, to be good citizens and saints? How are you passing on your understanding of the gospel to your kids and the next generation?

Cheap Grace Parenting

Consider this quote:

Seeing grace as an excuse not to parent your children within the boundaries  of godliness is equally repugnant to God. It is not grace that condones the crooked paths of our children may take. Rather it is cowardice, laziness, and selfishness. – Tim Kimmel, Grace-based Parenting

How is your parenting? Do you allow your your children to be undisciplined, disrespectful, and disobdient in the name of “grace”? This is a poor reflection of the gospel for our kids. Grace does not surrender truth, love does not translate as laziness. Our children need bold love and deep grace to guide them into true contentment and good development. They need fathers who are firm but loving, disciplining but sacrificial, truthful and playful. They need mothers who are faithful and faith-filled, sacrificial but strong, patient but not pansies. Grace is not a cop-out.

Legalistic Parenting

However, grace is also not law. It is not unflinching enforcement of household rules that punish for failure to perform. To be sure, grace upholds the law (assuming your household rules are good, true, and consistent), but it does not confuse law for grace. Our children need to be instructed and held accountable to what is good, true, and right. They need to learn God’s Word and his ways, but like us, they need more than punishment to obey. They need grace. They need to be instructed about the strength of Jesus in their weakness, the power of prayer in the face of stubbornness, the importance of confession and repentance when confronted with their sin, the hope of grace in the difficulty of growing up.

Gospel Parenting

Kids need the mirror of God’s Word to see who they really are, but they also need the lamp of his Gospel to warm their hearts. To parent with grace is to labor to keep truth and love together, to uphold law with grace, to show our children both the mirror and the lamp. If you lean towards cheap grace or legalism in parenting, take a few minutes to confess your sin to God and ask him for grace to change your heart. Talk your parenting over with your spouse. Press into the gospel for yourself and for your children. Be parented and parent in grace.


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