parenting with perspective

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. ~Romans 7:4-6

Parenting is less about success or failure and more about perspective. Someone asked me the other day what we do to maintain good relationships with our children as they grow and walk. And first of all there have been many and probably will be more seasons when relationships feel strained and tight rather than easy and relaxing. But remembering the Gospel in light of walking with our kids is critical as Troy and I navigate our uncharted waters.

One Gospel truth that I can twist as I parent is the role of the law. The Word declares that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:16) and  for since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near (Hebrews 10:1). But I often want to make the law (my rules) paramount and adherence to them indicative of a “goodhearted” child. The truth is this: the law in Scripture and now the law in my home has a 2 fold purpose, and neither purpose is for creating a good person. First the law keeps us safe. It promotes good relationships and safe living.

More importantly the law points to our inability to keep it. Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. (Romans 7:7b) It is an unattainable standard apart from perfection. So when my parenting believes that the law should be perfectly obeyed, I am not speaking Gospel to my child. I am speaking works. But when I recognize the purpose of the law is to illuminate the need for a Savior, I can begin a conversation with the wayward child that includes discipline but points to Jesus. My feelings or reactions about the situation can be neutralized by the truth that sin is against Holy God, not me, and He sent Jesus to redeem this child and turn his heart back. And when God is in the work, hearts turn back to Him and back to parents.

Their actions, reactions, manipulations, or rejections do not need to be personally felt by me. That’s my choice. My insecurities will want to declare my importance in their life. My pride will well up and puff out my chest with offense. My impatience will demand response. My flesh wants in on the action.

I need the Gospel.

I need Jesus. I need to listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and respond to Him before I respond to my child. In our flesh we all act contrary to the Spirit. I just rationalize my own sin because I find my child’s sin bothersome or offensive. “It’s ok” to be impatient because they aren’t quick to obey. “It’s okay” to be short tempered because they are rude or dishonoring first. “It’s ok” to be offended because what they say is hurtful.

My role with my child is to mimic the Heavenly Father’s role with them, to be the first picture of what His love, grace, and discipline look like. So before I make a move into counseling or disciplining a child, I need to remember truth, and I need to seek the Spirit’s counsel for my own heart. I need to remember Romans 7 & 8. Take a few moments and reread it. I am reminded that in my own failings my hope is Jesus. My flesh fails, but Jesus delivers. But the law of the Spirit of life has set {me} free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2) And that truth is THE truth I want my children to hear when it comes to breaking the law. Jesus sets us free! Yes, the law was broken, but Jesus is the only answer. Whether you were mean to a sibling, rebellious  in actions, or whatever else may have happened, Jesus came to remove the sinfulness that you displayed and make you new. Consequences follow sinfulness, but judgment has been settled at the cross. Sometimes I want to stop with the sin and heap condemnation on them, proving points already proven.

As parents we can lead our child to analyze their sin and see the true ugliness of what their heart did or desired, but then we need to pivot them to the One who loves them despite their sin, who died specifically for their sinful heart, and who calls them into relationship with Him. Salvation or sanctification become the conversation and discipleship occurs.

 

 

Author: thoughtsfromthethreshingfloor

Daughter of the King, saved by His grace, thankful for His continuing work in me

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