Parenting With Grace

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Parenting with grace. The author Paul Tripp says, “There is nothing more important to consistent, faithful, patient, loving, and effective parenting than to understand what God has given you in the grace of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Grace isn’t a thing; it’s a person that comes to us only in Christ Himself. Grace is all you need. It’s sufficient for every parenting moment regardless of how you’re feeling or what you’re dealing with (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9). In fact, grace is one of God’s greatest gifts to parents.

Receiving grace.

There are no perfect human parents, not now, not ever. Every parent is inadequate, makes mistakes, and regrets some of the things they’ve said or done. As we well know, parenting is challenging. But it should be because it’s in our struggles, stressful unknowns, and parenting shortcomings that God shows us our need for Him.

If parenting were manageable, predictable and problem free, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Click To Tweet

If parenting were manageable, predictable and problem-free, we wouldn’t need Jesus. That’s why parents should find what they’re looking for, not in themselves, but beyond themselves. God’s strength blossoms in our weakness. When we admit we need help and ask God for it, He makes us recipients of His grace.

All parents need grace. But we can’t receive it if we’re independently minded or self-motivated. God designed us to rely on Him. None of us have what it takes to parent adequately. We all require the perception, patience, perspective and perseverance that only God can give us.

Don’t think you can parent without God. Even if you could read all the parenting books in the world, you still wouldn’t have what you need to be a good parent. Human wisdom and understanding fall short of the mark, which is why good parenting starts with an honest assessment of our inadequacies, a readiness to commit to God’s way, and a desire to receive His grace.

Good parenting starts with an honest assessment of our inadequacies, a readiness to commit to God’s way, and a desire to receive His grace Click To Tweet

Asking for grace.

Until you get to the point of asking for God’s grace, you won’t receive it from God.

The biggest hindrances to good parenting are self-righteousness and self-assurance. God extends grace to save you from yourself. When you admit that your thoughts and actions don’t align with God’s plans and purposes, you’re heading in the right direction. Only when you ask God to deliver you from self-centeredness and self-sufficiency does He open your heart to His grace.

Have you asked for God’s grace? God’s grace isn’t just for your children – it’s for you too! So, humbly accept that you’re worthy of God’s undeserved favour, not because of anything you’ve done or not done, but because God unreservedly loves and wants to help you (cf. Hebrews 4:16).

Giving grace.

What’s freely received should be freely given. The best parents are the ones who willingly accept and selflessly share God’s grace.

The best parents are the ones who willingly accept and selflessly share God’s grace. Click To Tweet

Admittedly, giving grace is easier said than done. Parents deal with irritations and interruptions, usually daily. Who doesn’t sometimes feel impatient, angry, or disappointed with their children? Who doesn’t sometimes discipline a child with a hard heart?

The heart of the matter is the heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” Proverbs 4:23. Note the phrase “everything you do flows from it.” You can’t give your children grace if you don’t have a tender heart. And you get a tender heart by marinating in God’s Word (cf. Deuteronomy 11:18) and being filled with the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 3:16-17).

God wants your heart and the hearts of your children, inclined to Him. To nurture the heart of a child, your heart needs to be nurtured.

What’s flowing out of your heart? Do you dismiss your children’s struggles or discipline them harshly? When they step out of line, do you tongue-lash them or tell them how they’ve disappointed you? Do you bark orders? If you do, you’re a hard-hearted parent.

You can’t give your children grace if you don’t have a tender heart. Click To Tweet

Most parents need a change of heart (cf. Psalm 51:10). If you’re hard-hearted, the grace of God can heal you. Ask God for “a wise and understanding heart” 1 Kings 3:12. Ask Him to pour His love into your heart (cf. Romans 5:5). Then you’ll be able to show your children kindness and compassion, even when you don’t think they deserve it.

Changed by grace.

You can’t change your children – only God can. To point them to Jesus, you must watch what you think and say. Children need fresh starts and new beginnings. Don’t shame and blame. Rescue and restore. Don’t remind them of their failures. Forgive and encourage. Don’t motivate with threats. Show mercy, thoughtfulness and gentleness.

Grace doesn’t mean you don’t discipline your children. Good parenting is listening and correcting in a way that focuses on expectations, not infractions. Grace isn’t permissive. God wants you to be a conduit for nurturing a Christ-like image in your children. You do this by teaching your children God’s Word and how to live by it. And you do this prayerfully, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Freeing grace.

Parenting with grace isn’t a style or technique; it’s parenting God’s way. Click To Tweet

Parenting with grace isn’t a style or technique; it’s parenting God’s way. It’s freedom from trying to live up to impossible standards, freedom from condemnation, freedom to love and be loved. And it’s parenting while we’re being sanctified – between what was and what will be.

So, don’t try to be something that you’re not. Give yourself to Jesus. Confess your sins. Lay down your burdens. Receive God’s forgiveness, understanding, peace, mercy, guidance, wisdom, and joy. And be a channel for the Source. For God not only expects you to parent with grace, but He’s in you to do it.

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© Scripture Union, 2024

2 Corinthians 4:5

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