We are called in Ephesians 4:29 to respond with words that give grace, encourage, and build up. This includes those hard moments when our kids are sinfully disobedient. You can read the post below or listen in to the podcast where I share a bit more content.
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As Believers, we know the damage sin does in our lives and our homes. We also know we live with those who also battle with sin and will sin against us. One area that can be a challenge to deal with is when our children need correcting.
My children were raised a good portion of their lives by parents who did not know Jesus. As I've shared before, we came to faith later in life and just desired to raise good moral kids who were well mannered.
As we came to know Jesus and see our sinful struggles, I think it became harder to correct our children. I couldn't just react anymore when discipline was needed. I needed to deal with my sinful anger and their hearts.
Pride can set in, and we can want others to think more highly of us than they ought, and our children can be a place of pride in our lives. We can put standards and demands on them that they will never be able to live up to. I've done this in the lives of my children, and I hate it now and wish I could go back and have a do-over in so many scenarios.
Too often, I would be more worried about not having them act up and be an embarrassment to me when we were out in public. In those moments, I could find myself either not dealing with the correction or correcting harshly and quickly. We moms all know what that “angry look” can do to our children. I didn't respond in a way that put the needs of my child first at that moment, but I put my reputation first and how I looked.
It was ugly and didn't bring me any benefit, but even more so there was no benefit to my child. I didn't offer grace, show kindness, or love them as I've been loved in Christ. God sees us and loves us amid the mess that we are and He corrects our hearts through the loving discipline of His Word.
I'm just seeing my child's outward behavior. If I'm reacting that way to their outward behavior, how will they ever trust me to show me their inward behavior?
Some questions I began to ask myself were: Have I started my day with time in the Word and prayer? Am I learning to rely on the Lord for strength and guidance to respond rightly in all situations? Am I pausing and praying before I respond?
I can find myself being caught up in only focusing on my child's sinful action that I do not see the bigger picture.
We are called to correct our children (Proverbs 22:15), but we don't want to crush our children (Proverbs 15:13).
My words are not going to be gentle and kind if I've not taken the time to pray before responding. We can find ourselves out in public feeling embarrassed or by their behavior or in our homes, angry because their disobedience is an inconvenience. Raising children takes much time, but every moment is so worth it. It's not easy to correct our children and not always fun, but when we put it off or just neglect to deal with it, we're not helping them. Wherever we find ourselves, we need to pause, pray, and ask the Lord to help us rightly respond.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. ~ Ephesians 4:29
We are called in Ephesians 4:29 to respond with words that give grace, encourage, and build up. This includes those hard moments when our kids are sinfully disobedient. They do need to be pointed back in the right direction lovingly and firmly at times. But firm doesn't mean harsh. We can be firm and loving at the same time.
It is continual learning of how to use our words wisely. We hope to communicate truth in a way the Lord may use to reach their hearts. The reminder is we aren't responsible for their reaction on how they receive it but how we deliver it. Our motives matter here too!
If my motives to correct are focused on my pride or being inconvenienced, then it's not going to come out in a way that is going to be in the spirit of Ephesians 4:29.
If I've taken time to seek the Lord and pray before I respond, my chances of correcting them in a way that points them to Christ, are going to be much better than if I just reacted to the situation.
It's a help to think through ahead of time how you should respond when there are areas you know you are correcting your children repeatedly. Maybe it's them wanting an item at the grocery store, and you have to deal with a meltdown when you say “no.” How can you work through this ahead of time before you go to the store? How can you address the behavior rightly in the store if it does happen? Thinking these matters through ahead of time can be a help to guide your response.
When these issues do come up, it is a matter of seconds we are talking about here Mama's, but those seconds can have a considerable impact in the lives of our children. Think to yourself before you respond to pause (take a deep breath) and pray. Two simple actions that take a moment but can give you wise words that are covered in gentleness, grace, and love.Think to yourself before you respond to pause and pray. Two simple actions that take a moment but can give you wise words that are covered in gentleness, grace, and love.
In his book, Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Paul David Tripp reminds us:
“Self-righteously pointing out the sin of others never works: it is offensive and condescending, and it will close down the hearts of your children. Ask God to give you the grace to come to them to talk to them about their sin as a person who is much more grieved by the sin that is inside you than the sin that is inside them. When you come this way, your tenderness and humility becomes a workroom for God to do in the heart of your child what you can't do.”
There is grace and forgiveness when we mess up. We are not going to do this perfectly, and I'm not giving us an excuse to sin, but the truth that I've seen in my sinful failures is that the Lord can work all things for good (Romans 8:28).
“No one gives grace better than a parent who humbly admits that he desperately needs it himself.” ~ Paul David Tripp
God does work all things for good to those who love him. Can good come from our sin? There is much growth that comes with working with the Lord to battle our sin. Our kids will see a mom who looks to Jesus for her strength and forgiveness. They'll see a mom who desires not to sin against them and hates and does battle with her sin. They will also see a mom who is honest about her sinful struggles. They'll see a mom who loves and desires to please Jesus and who desires not to sin against them but to love them as Christ has loved her. They'll see a mom who isn't perfect, but they see the great love she has for the God she serves who is perfect.No one gives grace better than a parent who humbly admits that he desperately needs it himself.
The hope is the Lord will continue to help us be moms and grandmothers and aunts and spiritual mothers who point others to Jesus every day even amid times of correction. These are providential opportunities from the Lord to share the good news of the gospel and remind them of your great need for a Savior and theirs. Trust in His presence and power at work in your life today and the lives of your children.
Resource of the Week – RickThomas.net
Amberravwrites.com – My daughter's blog