Grace Abused

Grace_AbusedI hate having to discipline my children. I don’t know of a single parent who actually enjoys this aspect of life. However, I realize it is important in raising children up properly. Our children need to know there are immediate consequences for poor choices. They need to understand that obedience, temperance and respect are essential.

Early on, my husband and I read a wonderful book about training up our children in the ways of the Lord. This book helped us understand what the Bible had to say about raising children. It was also instrumental in helping us decide the best manner of training and discipling, as well as the difference between the two. We have used the principles in this book for the last several years and have always found them to be sound and true.

Unfortunately, as of late, I have found myself to be lacking. Far too often we are repeating ourselves in order to be obeyed. Far too often the children are asking why they need to do something, instead of doing it. Far too often we are allowing them to be disrespectful and blaming it on those “teen” years. Mommy is starting to feel tired, irritated, and frazzled.

Recently, it hit a point where I realized who was at fault… ME! I was using grace as an excuse to be lazy. I was justifying my lack of action by thinking that giving them more of an opportunity to obey would make them want to obey. I thought if I extended grace, they would rise to the occasion, be grateful, and quick to obey next time. Well, that certainly wasn’t happening. I was only giving them more opportunity to disobey. I was slowly, but surely, getting more irritated with not being obeyed the first time. I was becoming more and more disrespected because my children were being allowed to get away with it.

After a few bouts of disobedience and disrespect from the kids, I knew this needed to come to an end. I called all of my babies into the front room and sat them down. I sincerely and thoroughly apologized for not being more patient and kind. I apologized for not doing my job; namely training them immediately. I explained that my God-given responsibility was to teach them to be respectful adults who feared the Lord. I explained that in order to do my job I needed to be training them, and I was no longer going to tolerate disobedience under the guise of grace.

Afterwards, I knew we needed to come up with a better plan of encouragement. Not only did I need to be training them more, but we also needed to be keeping each other in line with God’s will and His Word. What better way to do this than prayer? Together we came up with the plan that whenever we see someone starting to get out of line, we will immediately stop them and pray with them. This works for Mommy too! If Mommy is getting frustrated, the kids have been encouraged to walk right up to me and say, “Mommy let me pray for you.”

Through prayer and a return to training, I know our home will be one filled with joy, peace, and love. I have confidence in knowing the Lord is helping me to raise our children with wisdom and patience. I can proceed into our upcoming school year, knowing that our learning will be more easily accomplished without the challenge of disobedience. Now I know that when grace is offered, it is because it is truly meant and that it is not laziness masked by grace abused.

“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!”
~ Romans 6:1-2

Your Turn!: When do you become aware grace is being abused?

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On the way home from church this morning, I heard this beautiful song from Matthew West, “Forgiveness“. In this simple song, Matthew lays out the truth regarding this hard principle of life.

It is the hardest thing to give, it is the last thing we want to do, the person receiving it doesn’t usually deserve it, and it is far from how we feel. It injures our pride, it causes us pain, and it takes everything just to say the words.

Even when all the world says we have a right to be angry and remain upset, forgiveness must rule the day. It makes anger flee and removes bitterness; the person who is really set free is you. There is no end to its power.

Listening to this song, it reminded me of how important this lesson is for us to learn. It is essential that my children see us forgive and for them to give it in return.

When I make mistakes, I need to seek my children’s forgiveness and make things right. Through my humility, perhaps our children will learn to diminish their pride.

When my children make mistakes, I need to be quick to forgive. This will teach them the blessing of grace and mercy.

What touched me the most, was that Matthew gets to the heart of the matter. Forgiveness isn’t easy and it often causes pain, but in the long run we are only hurting ourselves by holding back. Even when we feel we have a right to be hurt (which we might), the answer is to set it free.

Only when we set our anger and bitterness free, by granting forgiveness, will we truly be able to live a life of joy and peace. And after all, if my God in heaven can forgive me, who is most unworthy, how dare not forgive others?

What, do you find, is the hardest aspect of forgiving someone?