- 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.
- Instead of transmitting the gloriously liberating and life-changing truths of the gospel, we have taught our children that what God wants from them is morality. We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith. This isn't the gospel; we're not handing down Christianity.
- Good manners have been elevated to the level of Christian righteousness.
- Grace, or the free favor that has been lavished on us through Christ, 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.
- While it is true that you should not haul off and punch any person who displeases you, it is also true that an unregenerate pacifist will feel God's wrath in the same way that an unregenerate bully will.
- I assumed my children had regenerate hearts because they had prayed a prayer at some point and because I required religious obedience from them. This resulted in kids who were alternately hypocritical and rebellious. It taught them how to feign prayer, without pressing them to long for a Savior who loved hypocrites and rebels.
- Religious obedience is probably the most difficult and dangerous form of obedience simply because it is so easily confused with conformity to God's law. . . . we are commanded to teach the Word, prayer, and worship to our children, but their acquiescence to these things won't save them. Only the righteous life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ saves them.
- Even though our children cannot and will not obey God's law, we need to teach it to them again and again. And when they tell us that they can't love God or others in this way, we are not to argue with them. We are to agree with them and tell them of their need for a Savior.
- Give them God's law. Teach it to them and tell them that God commands obedience. But before you are done, give them grace and explain again the beautiful story of Christ's perfect keeping of it for them.
- Every way we try to make our kids good that isn't rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding, Pharisee-producing law.
- The one encouragement we can always give our children (and one another) is that God is more powerful than our sin, and he's strong enough to make us want to do the right thing.
- Our children aren't innately good, and we shouldn't tell them that they are. But they are loved and if they truly believe that, his love will transform them.
- A society riddled with immorality will not be a pleasant place to live, but a society riddled with self-congratulatory morality will be satanic and resistant to grace. It will be nice and tidy and loveless and, oh, so dead. And it will be only a breath away from murder. Remember that it was the religious leaders, not the prostitutes, who called for the execution of the Christ.
- When God looks at the justified believer, parent or child, he sees us not only as forgiven (which is great news) but also as obedient and righteous (which ought to amaze and astound us).
- You cannot raise good kids, because you're not a good parent.
- Give this grace to your children: tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give this grace to yourself, too.
- Freedom to love and enjoy our children flows out of the knowledge that God saves them in spite of our best efforts, not because of them. Salvation is of the Lord.
- We are not nor can we be the saviors of our children. . . . When we're quietly resting in grace, we'll have grace to give our children, too. When we're freed from the ultimate responsibility of being their savior, we'll find our parenting burden becoming easy and light.
- When we so desperately want our children to be good that we're alternately angry, fearful, proud, or sullen, then our desire for their transformation has become the god we serve. Yes, God does command us to train our children, but care needs to be taken that this training doesn't morph into something more important to us than God himself.
- We have far too high a view of our ability to shape our children and far too low a view of God's love and trustworthiness. So we multiply techniques and try to control the outcome. We subconsciously hope that by our "righteousness," we will obligate God to make everything turn out the way we want.
- Only sinners who know they are sinners will hear the word "mercy" spoken over them.
- We hinder our children from enjoying God's embrace when we teach them that their religious activity and obedience elevates them out of the category of sinner in need of mercy.
- As parents, our only hope for our children's salvation lies in the rich mercy of a compassionate God and the atoning work of our perfect representative, Jesus Christ. When we consistently and unashamedly throw ourselves on God's mercy, we will help our children place their hope in him too.
- A comforting message that must never be forgotten: the disciples couldn't hinder the children from coming to him even though they tried. When God calls our children to come to him, even if we haven't gotten it all right, even if we've trained little Pharisees or have a house full of prodigals, nothing is impossible for him. He can break through all our flawed methods and redeem all our frail errors. The world tells us that our children's success depends upon our success. The world knows nothing of God's ability to use our failures as a means to bless.
- Jesus Christ has already done all the work that needed to be done. When in great relief from excruciating agony of soul he declared, "It is finished," it really was. This is the message that we and our children need to hear over and over again.
- If we encourage children to ask for forgiveness when their hearts haven't been stricken by the rod of the Holy Spirit's conviction, we are training them to be hypocritical. We are inadvertently teaching them that false professions of sorrow will satisfy God. God is never pleased with outward proclamations of devotion when the heart is far from him (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15:7-9); in fact, he hates it.
- The possibility of sin is present on both sides of [most every] problem, and Satan doesn't care which side we err on.
- We are different, but our difference should not be because we don't know who Voldemort is. We're different because we know the one good story and it has transformed our lives and freed us from the real Voldemort, and our neighbors need to know it.
- We don't want to be known as the strange family that hates everything the neighborhood likes. We want to be known as the strange family that overflows with love, service, and joy.
- Are your prayers weak, scrambled, inconsistent, self-centered? Of course they are. . . . [BUT if you are in Christ] the Father hears the perfectly worded, properly believing, and flawlessly theologically correct prayers of his beloved Son when you pray. We can freely pour out our heart to our Father knowing that our dear Savior will purify and transform our words into petitions that please him. . . . Go tell your Father about everything that's in your heart, and don't be afraid. The Lord Jesus is mediating for us all.
- What if he has called us to Jeremiah's ministry rather than to Daniel's? Is there room in your parenting paradigm for weakness and failure if weakness and failure glorify God?
- The compliant child's life lies to us, assuring us that she is good because we're such good parents. Difficult children tell us the truth: God loves his enemies, and he can infuse us with grace that will make us lay down our lives for them too.
- God's power is displayed through our failures when we tether ourselves to the gospel message of sin and forgiveness, no matter how desperate the situation becomes.
- No matter how disciplined, organized, and faithful we are, the reality is that we are sinners living in a sin-cursed world with other sinners.
- How would you raise your children if all you had was the Bible?
- When we make parenting more complex than God has made it, we afflict ourselves with burdens too heavy for us to carry, and we are unintentionally presuming that the good news of the gospel is insufficient.
- Parenting in grace is not parenting on the basis of your own consistent gospel-centeredness. It is just the opposite. Parenting in grace is parenting on the basis of Christ's consistent perfections alone.
- Grace is God's favor given to you because of Jesus Christ, not because of your consistent memory of it. . . . So, when you have that morning to top all mornings, when everything that could possibly go wrong does, when grace doesn't mean anything to you, it is his grace that will sustain you.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Give Them Grace excerpts
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is overflowing with goodness and helpfulness and GRACE. I don't do book reviews, because I almost never have anything to say that is more helpful than the content of the book itself. So instead, I offer you some of my favorite wisdom from the pages of what I just read. If you like these, there is so much more where this came from. Enjoy!
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