Opportunities for Grace

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My husband lost his temper and yelled at my daughter last night. He was a little bit justified and a whole lot tired, frustrated and cranky. It's not the first time one of us has yelled at our kids instead of using the moment to teach, and it probably won't be the last.

But this time led to an interesting conversation with the child who wasn't yelled at. As we drove to soccer practice, my daughter asked, "Why did Daddy get so mad?"

And the door opened for a discussion of grace. You see, sometimes we adults make mistakes. We jump to conclusions. We refuse to let go of our unrealistic expectations. We take our frustrations with the day out on those around us, those we love the most. We yell when we shouldn't.

In those moments, we need grace from our kids. We need forgiveness from them. We need whatever compassion they can muster.

Because we're not perfect. We're going to screw this parenting thing up from time to time. We're going to have to admit we were wrong. We're going to have to say we're sorry.

And that's the best way to teach our kids grace. In that moment when we ask for forgiveness from our kids, we're teaching them how to offer grace. We're teaching them that in this imperfect world with its imperfect people, the need for grace is great. We're teaching them they can be pictures of God's grace to us.

It's not easy to forgive when your feelings have been hurt. It's not easy to offer grace when you've been wrong. But the rewards are great for both the giver and the receiver. Grace restores relationships, it heals hurts, and it draws us closer to God.

Without grace we would not have a relationship with God. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us of this: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Grace is not something we can earn. It is not something we deserve. It is, in its simplest form, unmerited favor.

When we admit to our kids when we're wrong, when say we're sorry, we offer our kids an opportunity to give us grace. And every time we choose to forgive our kids, our spouses, or our friends, we're offering our kids an example of what grace looks like.

Everyone of us needs grace, and everyone of us has the opportunity to give grace to others. Won't you make giving grace your goal today?