Have you ever blamed yourself for the wrong choices of your children?
Have you ever felt discouraged because you sinned in your parenting (by an angry word or expression or tone of voice) and feared that your kids might forever be scarred or have issues as a result?
Have you ever thought that you had to try harder, be better … in other words be more perfect?
Have you placed an unattainable standard before yourself in your parenting: that your kids won’t turn out “perfectly” or godly if you aren’t perfect in how you raise them?
Have you ever questioned how your kids are going to turn out to live productive and more importantly, godly lives if you are not the flawless example to them?
Have you ever felt and acted as if God’s love and in turn your love to your children is dependent upon the measure to which obedience or dare I say “perfection” is achieved?
Most of us know that God’s love is not dependent upon our obedience. Yet, we live that way. We walk in fear or timidity, enacting man-made laws and rituals and tradition to placate our images and ideas of what we believe God expects from us. The reason? Not because we always want to obey but sometimes more because we feel and live as if His love is dependent upon us — our behaviors, the measure of our “godliness.”
Why do we think and feel and live this way sometimes? Has God ever chosen only “perfect” people to accomplish His work, ways, and will? The Bible gives multiple examples of God choosing people that did sin and sin big time. Some of these people are in the very line from which Christ’s earthly lineage can be traced: Tamara, Judah, Bathsheba, David, Solomon, Rahab, etc…
The Bible also gives clear guidelines and commands that define what is sin and what it isn’t. He also clearly judges those who sin. So what does it all mean?
Do we ignore God’s justice, or do we ignore His love? Are they mutually agreeable and cohesive with each other? Can both His love and His justice be singularly achieved?
God calls David a “man after His own heart.” Yet, David was an adulterer, proud at times, irresponsible in his parenting, a murderer, etc… As a result, the Bible does speak of judgment. David’s house was divided in so many ways — brother against brother. The entire nation of Israel even suffered judgment when David chose to number the armies of Israel. David’s newborn son, the child born as a result of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba, died. At one point, David’s son Absalom tried to wrest the kingdom from his father and David had to flee for his life. So why did God call this man “a man after His own heart”? Scripture also makes it clear that David had a tender and repentant heart. He grieved over his sin and truly repented. David submitted to authority (as in example of King Saul) and never rebelliously questioned God’s punishment. David also had a heart of worship. The Book of Psalms speaks time and time again of how in the midst of every circumstance, David had learned to yet praise God.
Each person that God chose to use in the genealogy of Christ’s earthly lineage (lineages of Mary and Joseph) were sinners but sinners who at some point repented and experienced redemption as a result. The key here is their repentance and the changes in their lives that occurred.
God doesn’t choose perfect people to accomplish His will. He uses forgiven people — people who have been forgiven because they repented.
The truth is we all sin. That isn’t an excuse to continue in our sins. What it should be is an admission that we are sinners — you and I. Knowing we have sinned much and have been forgiven much should result in a spirit of thankfulness and worship of One Who is Holy and Righteous Altogether!
God doesn’t ask us to be perfect. He asks us to be repentant and useable as a result of our submission.
God’s grace is perhaps best shown when it is extended to the sinner — not the “perfect.” His grace is best shown in the chaos and messiness of life. God’s grace is all about a Savior who offers redemption to an undeserving but repentant sinner. God’s grace is all about His perfection being extended to imperfect people.
As mothers, this means that His grace is best demonstrated when imperfect mothers accept His forgiveness and receive His redemption in order to live lives that are forgiven and transformed through Him! This means that the greatest work of parenting we do is not our own feeble attempts at living a “good” life but is when we learn to walk in His grace and the freedom that comes as a result.
When we sin, God’s love is not affected. What is affected is our relationship with Him. When we sin, we put “distance” between our hearts and God’s.
As mothers/parents, the best thing we can do for our children is to teach them what God’s grace means and to live it out before them: that Grace is God extending His forgiveness to us and offering us redemption when we accept it. It’s learning to walk in His Grace, meaning we walk obediently, humbly, and joyfully before Him. It’s understanding that it’s not about us; it’s all about Him — His work and ways! It’s understanding that not only was Grace a past work: the work on the cross (salvation), but it is also a present work: the daily renewing and transforming of our lives through His power!
It means, we have been forgiven much so we can forgive much!