I just did everything you are not supposed to do when disciplining a child. I’m too embarrassed to share what I said, did and felt. Suffice it to say, I have broken my own heart with my attitude and actions. I’ve got to figure out a better way to do this!
Thankfully, my child and I were able to apologize, hug, pray and even smile following our excursion into Crazyville.
Tonight the issue was lying. It’s a reoccurring issue. I’m beside myself with frustration, fear and anger. I realize that I have a hefty amount of anxiety based on my ex-husband’s betrayal and deceit. I react to what I perceive the future might be based on how they are acting now, rather than the fact that they are children who regularly sin and are unrepentant about it. My children are not worse than me. They are sinful people…just like me.
I can’t seem to respond gently. I’ve actually considered tattooing Proverbs 15:1 on my arm, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The next verse could be on the other arm, “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly” (15:2). The preponderance of stuff that pours from my mouth is anything but gentle, and definitely not wise.
How often have I made mistakes or just outright sinned? (Do I really have to answer that question considering the whole topic of this post?!) How often do I feel completely unrepentant about my sins…or just not make the time to truly repent? I have no response but “ugh.”
I believe the most important thing I can show my children is the grace that God shows me, but what does that look like? This is what I think it looks like:
1. Gentle words: My voice will be calm and quiet and my words will be a blessing.
2. Less words: My words will be thoughtful and few.
3. Grace offered: I will share how God gives us mercy and grace.
I wish I’d said this to my son, “Sweetheart, do you understand what grace is? Do you know that God gives us mercy because of Jesus? Mercy is God giving us grace instead of the punishment we deserve. Grace is Him loving us more than we can imagine, and not because we did anything at all to deserve it. Son, lying is wrong. It destroys trust, relationships and even lives. I want you to understand that it is unacceptable and hurtful so your punishment will be… But please know that there is nothing you can do or not do, say or not say, that will change how very much I love you. And nothing will ever change how much God loves you.”
May we be parents who share the gospel with our children whenever we have the chance! And may they live and rest in the grace and love He lavishes upon them.