I’ve been reading the book Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel. In the context of providing freedom for children to be vulnerable, he writes:
There’s no sin too bad, no doubt too big, no question too hard, and no heart too broken for His grace to deal with. These are the very things that children need to learn early on in their lives, and God has given parents the responsibility to be the gatekeepers of His grace. It is your careful response to these fragile issues that plays the key role in whether your children will even be inclined to head down the path to God’s grace.
Kimmel goes on to use the example of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. In this passage Paul reveals that he was given some sort of problem to keep him humble. Rather than take the problem away, God used it as a teaching point to help Paul understand God’s grace. As parents, we’ve been entrusted with moments like that with our children. When we meet weakness and vulnerability with love and grace, we pave the way for our children to know the God of the universe who loves them unconditionally.
So, what does this look like in practice? A few things that come to mind…
- Providing an empathetic ear even when we think they’re being over dramatic about a situation.
- Meeting them with love and acceptance even when they disappoint.
- Taking their fears seriously even if we don’t think there’s much to be afraid of.
The parent-child relationship significantly influences how we relate to God as our Heavenly Father. The ideas above are great reminders for those of us who are parents, but they’re also worth reflecting on for all of us. If you find yourself having a difficult time believing God loves you, or that He is pleased with you, it may stem from how grace was modeled in your home growing up. We all have challenges to over come in this area, but let me remind you of the truth of God’s word!
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. -Ephesians 2:8-9