How many imperfect parents out there? Raise your hands. I’m hoping all my parents out there raised their hands. We are going to experience failure in our parenting – it’s not an option but a reality in our lives on this fallen earth.
Don’t we all find ourselves at times sure that we’ve ruined our children? How many times have we yelled, acted rashly in our correction and the list of mistakes and sinful responses towards them we’ve made over the years sadly goes on.
We’re going to fail – and in saying that it doesn’t mean our failure shouldn’t affect us. I know we all are saddened by the times we’ve caused hurt in any way to our children, and this isn’t a podcast to just give us a pass to the failures we’ve caused our children.
We need to seek the forgiveness of our children, repent to the Lord of wrongs we’ve caused to them and to the best of our ability and by the grace of God avoid hurting them in the future when possible.
We must remember always that we are sinners’ parenting sinners. Sin affects every one of our relationships.
Romans 7:18-19 is true in my role as a parent just as it’s true in my relationship with all others on this earth.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
We are not perfect—we already know this.
Remember that it is God’s grace that transforms our lives and the lives of our children – it’s not our perfect or more likely imperfect parenting. He is the only One that has the power to transform their hearts and minds. This doesn’t mean we don’t strive to set a pattern and routine for our homes that directs the hearts of our children towards Him. It is our duty as parents to train up our children in His ways but we can’t trust that our parenting is going to save them.
“Children need to obey before they can process obedience through faith. When faith comes, the obedience which they have learned from fear and reward and respect will become the natural expression of faith. Not to require obedience before faith is folly. It’s not loving in the long run. It cuts deep furrows of disobedient habits that faith must then not infuse, but overcome.” ~ John Piper
Humility is one of the most powerful examples the Lord has used in our family to display His grace. Let your children see how you handle when you’ve hurt or wronged them and what you do to make it right. Our kids already know when we mess up, and it is so good for them to see how we own up to it and take responsibility for where we’ve wronged them or another family member.
God’s love is expressed through us when we are showing patience in a difficult situation. God’s love is not evident when we are responding with a heart of impatience.God’s love is expressed through us when we are showing patience in a difficult situation. God’s love is not evident when we are responding with a heart of impatience.
I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful God’s love, and forgiveness for me is not based on my performance. I fail daily. Sin must be dealt with, but God’s love must be demonstrated in our forgiveness.
We need to remind ourselves to allow our children to be who God created them to be and not who we desire them to be.
I hope to model for them what repentance looks like and that seeking forgiveness from others is a skill that was modeled for them in our own home.
The best model of grace-filled parenting we can give our children is for them to continue to see their parents relying on God’s grace in all things. The Lord is mighty to save your children despite your perfect or imperfect parenting.
“Most of us are painfully aware that we’re not perfect parents. We’re also deeply grieved that we don’t have perfect kids. But the remedy to our mutual imperfections isn’t more law, even if it seems to produce tidy or polite children. Christian children (and their parents) don’t need to learn to be “nice.” They need death and resurrection and a Savior who has gone before them as a faithful high priest, who was a child himself, and who lived and died perfectly in their place. They need a Savior who extends the offer of complete forgiveness, total righteousness, and indissoluble adoption to all who will believe. This is the message we all need. We need the gospel of grace and the grace of the gospel. Children can’t use the law any more than we can because they will respond to it the same way we do. They’ll ignore it or bend it or obey it outwardly for selfish purposes, but this one thing is certain: they won’t obey it from the heart because they can’t. That’s why Jesus had to die.” ~ Elyse Fitzpatrick
“What is the ultimate purpose of a “phileo” kind of love? It is nothing less than the salvation of our children’s souls. This is the chief end of mothering. Our goal is not that our children be happy, fulfilled, and successful. Granted we may desire these things for them. But our highest objective should be that our children would repent from their sins, put their trust in Jesus Christ, and reflect the gospel to the world around them.” ~ Carolyn Mahaney
Scripture & Resources:
1 Corinthians 15:10
2 Corinthians 12:9
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick
Free eBook – Motherhood Delighting in Our Children by Marci Ferrell