Parenting My Children with Grace and Truth
If you’re a parent, there’s a pretty decent chance that your child (or children) has done something to completely mortify you. I mean, it seems like the rights of a child are simply to be embarrassing. Of course, then the rights of a parent are to embarrass said child when they become teenagers…. am I right? 😃
My own kids are notorious for handing out our personal information 50,000 times a day to anyone who will listen. I mean, when I venture out into public (especially with my children), I don’t want to have conversations with complete strangers. Chalk it up to my own mom’s teachings on stranger danger, but it’s just how I roll. I head out into public with my children, intending to accomplish a goal or task as quickly and painlessly as possible. With two very energetic and friendly children, this is a monumental task at times!
The other day I took my boys out for a walk and we ended up stopping at a neighborhood restaurant for a treat. In the time it took for me to place my order and fill my drink (thirty-five seconds, I’m pretty sure), my son had informed the cashier of what color our house was, what color our cars were, the fact that he’s a diabetic, his name, his brother’s name, my name, and he was JUST gearing up to give a whole list of information a complete stranger doesn’t need to know about us!
This happens everywhere we go. I find myself completely mortified at times because my son is lax in his judgments of people. In my own words from when I was five, “They’re not strangers, mommy, they’re potential friends!” Like my mother (I’m sure), I wish my boys were a lot more leery of strangers before they just handed the world the sacred keys to our lives!
In this part of my story, I have to stop and observe this verse. Jesus came into this world, full of grace and truth. As a mom, how am I demonstrating these same attributes to my children? Am I representing Jesus by being full of grace and truth (at least, to the best of my ability)? Am I taking these stressful moments of oversharing in my children to teach them with kindness, calmness, and peace?
Reading: Matthew 26:47-56, John 1:14, John 18:1-11
It’s hard not to read these Scriptures and not feel the intense emotion of this moment. You have Judas outed as the one who betrays Jesus as he shows up with this crowd of people to arrest Jesus. You can feel the fear of Jesus’ followers as we watch Peter reach out with his sword to cut the ear off of the servant of the high priest. The noise. The stress. The wondering if Jesus is the ONLY person they’re going to arrest. The fear of the unknown even though Jesus had done everything He could to prepare them for this moment. Yet, in the midst of all of this stress, there’s peace right in the midst of them. The Prince of Peace, to be exact. In the midst of all this stress is a supernatural calmness. Jesus is calm. Jesus is peace. Jesus is kind. Jesus even takes this incredibly stressful event to teach His followers and to inspire them to live by Kingdom standards rather than earthly ones!
Related Post: Peace
As we watch Jesus be the calm in the midst of the chaos, I can’t help but wonder. In a stressful situation, do my children see me as calm? Do they see me as peaceful? Do they experience kindness? Jesus spent His whole ministry challenging His followers to rise up to Kingdom standards, do I reflect Kingdom standards in my parenting? Do I reflect Jesus?
What does Jesus teach us about being full of grace and truth in our parenting?
Jesus refers to Judas as FRIEND. “Friend, do what you came to do.” To me, this is such a profound word. He handles His betrayer with grace as He submits to the Father’s plan. Jesus didn’t treat Judas harshly. He treated him with grace.
Whether we consider our children (our disciples) as friends or not, the simple fact is that they’re truly the people who are the closest to us in our lives. They see us in our moments of defeat AND in our moments of victory. They see the good, the bad, and the ugly. They see us when we reflect Jesus and also when we don’t. When our children make decisions that are hurtful to us (such as Judas’ betrayal of Jesus), how do we respond? Do we respond out of anger and treat them harshly or do we respond to them out of grace and love?
Jesus held His disciples to a higher standard. Peter cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. I’d think this moment would be horrifying due to the fact that this action (however big or small) does not reflect Jesus in the slightest. We can read all four gospels and we know that Jesus calls each and every one of us to a higher standard. He challenges us to take things a step further to reflect the Kingdom of Heaven rather than earthly standards. Peter made a decision to reflect earthly standards and Jesus made a point to inspire him to reflect the Kingdom of Heaven. To reflect the Kingdom of Heaven is to respond out of love, even sacrificial love. To reflect the Kingdom of Heaven is to respond with kindness in the midst of situations where kindness is lacking. Jesus inspired Peter by healing the ear of the servant. He also inspired Peter by chasing down the decision and telling Peter the truth of where responding with the sword would lead. I love how in the middle of this stressful and fearful situation, Jesus takes the opportunity to teach and inspire His followers to be better and to reflect the Kingdom. Does our parenting encourage and inspire our children to reflect the Kingdom of Heaven or earthly standards? Do we take moments of stress and fear to calmly teach our children? Do we live in a way that reflects Jesus when we respond to our children?
Related Post: Kindness
Jesus shows grace through kindness. Jesus responded to Judas by calling him friend. He humbly accepted the Father’s will, but notice that He didn’t take the opportunity to get that one last jab in. He didn’t say anything that indicated anger. He didn’t respond to Judas out of the pain of being betrayed. He looked at him and called him friend. When Peter cut the ear of the servant, Jesus didn’t respond out of anger or fear, He responded out of grace and kindness. He kindly told Peter of the consequences of drawing his sword. He kindly told Peter about the power of God to pull Him out of this situation. He kindly reminded Peter of His mission to fulfill the Scriptures. Are we kind to our children? When they make decisions that cause us pain or bring about fear, do we respond to them out of kindness?
What do we do? When my children make the unwise decision to divulge personal information to strangers or when we find ourselves in a particularly stressful situation like Jesus did, what do we do? How do we respond like Jesus in our moments of chaos, frustration, and fear? How do we parent like Jesus?
First, we take a moment to pray. We ask God for wisdom, for peace and calmness, and simply for Jesus to be seen. Second, we consider our words as we form them to respond to our children. Will our words be kind? Will they reflect Jesus? Third, we take the opportunity to teach and to inspire our children to reflect Kingdom standards rather than earthly ones. Fourth, no matter what decisions our children make (and no matter how painful), we strive to leave them with the knowledge (through our words and actions) that our children are loved. Jesus sacrificed His life for love, let’s sacrifice our pride for love!