The Jesus-Centered Home #7: Full of Grace

"Full of grace and truth" is the description of Jesus we find in the first chapter of John. In a previous installation of the Jesus-Centered Home, we discussed having our homes be full of truth. Shouldn't our homes, as an extension of our Lord, also be full of grace?

Biblically Speaking...
Grace is commonly defined as "unmerited favor", and Romans 11 notes
that if grace is offered based on works, it ceases to be grace. Our salvation is made possible by grace (Acts 15:11); when the apostles were full of power in the Spirit, they were also full of grace (Acts 4:33); and when our sin increases, grace increases all the more (Romans 5). And yet, we are not to sin in order to receive grace (Romans 6). God gives grace to the afflicted (Proverbs 3:34), to the righteous and upright (Psalm 84), the weak (2 Corinthians 12:9), and the needy (Hebrews 4:16). Our speech should always be seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6).

How then do we implement this idea of grace in our homes?
These scriptural ideas of grace give us some guidance as to how we ought to bring graciousness into our homes. Some of my thoughts and observations:
(1) When we are parenting in the Spirit, grace will abound.
(2) We ought to extend grace generously, particularly when one is hurting.
(3) Grace extended to our families will not be based on merit.
(4) And yet, our children ought not be allowed to abuse graciousness.

What does grace look like?
Generosity, kindness, and surprises. This doesn't necessarily mean extravagance, although at times it may involve spending our money. The suggestion, "let's make playdough together," spoken to a child wh
o has lately been set on disobedience can be an example of grace. Unexpectedly surprising them with something they've been wanting can be another. "Why don't you stay up with us and we can ______," may be a very surprising extension of grace to a child in need of time together. It seems to me that time together, small thoughtful gifts, and ideas that speak to the unique delights of each child (offering a half-hour of coloring to a crafty child, cooking a special dish together for a child who always wants to cook, watching a not-one-of-my-favorites movie together because it's your child's favorite) can all be incredible examples of grace.

Unmerited favor. How many times has God given you unexpected gifts: bumping into a good friend at the store, the unique comedy of comments made by preschoolers, and treats that come right in the midst of the grind daily life (a 6th floor apartment with a great view, your favorite song on the radio just as you get into the car, or a shirt in just the right size and color on the clearance rack for $6.98)? Our God is a gracious God who gives to
us excessively and extravagantly, beyond what we even realize and acknowledge Him for. We ought to extend to our children the same kind of grace God has marvellously given to us.

What if our grace is abused?
How can we make our homes full of grace without having completely rambunctious children who take advantage of our kindness and without regretting our offer of grace? We can guard against this by making sure that our children are well-disciplined. Certainly, we are to discipline our children, but that's another issue for another day.

The point is, grace ought to abound. Christian homes centered on rules and rigidity are not examples of the kind of grace we see in the New Testament. God gives grace to sinners, particularly when we are downcast and weak.

The wonder of grace is that it IS unmerited... that it is not offered based on who deserves it. That wonder o
ught to flow through the Christian home.

1 comment:

Christina said...

Thank you for your thoughtful words. What a good reminder for me! It was one I especially needed to hear today. I had an encounter with a woman and her child that left me wondering what to do. Being gracious to others doesn't come naturally, but is something that God is cultivating in me.

BTW, how is Doug? You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.