Kids Need Grace (and Parents do too)

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I did it again! What started with good intentions to lead a robust family devotion with the hope that lives would be radically changed, ended in my frustrated plea for everyone under the age of 37 to go directly to bed. I needed some peace and quiet, thank you very much; and my kids were getting in the way….again. Or perhaps we were all getting in the way.

As I settled into my hard earned peace and quiet, my heart remained restless. The confession that we all say together each Sunday kept interrupting my train of thought. Most merciful God we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone…. Yep, that pretty much summed up my evening; but then that first phrase of the confession floored me. Most….merciful….God. This is how we can approach God because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He lived the life that I have failed to live and died the death that I deserve to die.

Merciful. Not how my kids would have described me on that messed up night. If asked they may have described me as an impatient dictator, but not merciful. And yet each week we, as sinners, cry out to our most merciful God. I often fail to show mercy to my kids, and yet God never fails to show us his mercy.

In her book Give Them Grace, Elyse Fitzpatrick writes “Grace….ought to make our parenting radically different from what unbelievers do. That’s because the good news of God’s grace is meant to permeate and transform every relationship we have, including our relationship with our children. All the typical ways we construct to get things done and get others to do our bidding are simply obliterated by a gospel message that tells us that we are all (parents and children) both radically sinful and radically loved (emphasis hers; p. 21).”

What I love about Wellspring Church is that parents and children participate in most of the liturgy. And it is the liturgy that week after week re-narrates the gospel story that we are radically sinful and radically loved. Each Sunday we hear the words from our merciful God “I love you” and “Come taste and see that I am good (Psalm 34:8).” Each week in the liturgy I am reminded that my kids need grace, and I do too!

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

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