“How many times have I asked you to do ___ and you still keep disobeying me?”
As a mom of five, I find myself saying this (or something close to this) more times than I’d care to count. On some days, I feel like no one is listening and my request is on repeat.
It was one of those days where I swear I was saying the same thing over and over again sounding like a broken record but apparently my voice was being communicated like one of the parents in an episode of the Muppet Babies or Peanuts (“Waaaah, waaah, waah, waaah”). I was getting so frustrated that no one was listening to me (or respecting me or obeying me, for that matter), until my eldest came up to me. With her big, brown eyes staring deep into my soul, she innocently said, “Mama, I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
I looked back at her and couldn’t help but think of myself and how often I ask my Father for forgiveness. I suppose this is how He feels when His Son teaches me so much through the Word while His Spirit performs wondrous works within me only to have me go against everything I’ve ever learned and know. Even when I choose to disobey God when I know better, my Heavenly Father still forgives me. And He does it without weighing any options, repercussions or considerations. He simply does it because He loves me.
He loves me so much that He made His only Son a ransom for my sin so I could be forgiven. Always and forever, the unending gift of amazing grace. God’s riches at Christ’s expense.
I never really considered grace as it relates to God’s parenting of me and my parenting of my kids but it totally makes sense – grace upon grace. It is all that I need to keep on doing the work assigned to me even though I may mess up or fall short. I am not perfect, after all, and never will be. And you know who else will never be perfect? You. My children. My spouse. My friends. My kid’s teacher. The parent who is always rude to me during my child’s extracurricular.
Ah, but grace. Grace upon grace. The gift that keeps on giving and one that we need to learn how to give freely back.
I’ll be the first to admit that it is not easy to initially believe the best about someone. Quite contrary, it is rather natural to assume the worst. But friend, an entirely different situation occurs when we deliberately choose to extend grace and believe the best about an individual and their intentions. We are able to see that person in a whole other light – as the broken, imperfect human who needs a Savior to redeem them from their sin, the world, and their self. We can recognize that the person we are actively choosing to offer grace to and forgive is just like you and me and yet, our Father still loves all of us.
It is so easy to allow the weakness of our self the opportunity to give into the enemy’s power. Sitting on the self- righteous pedestal looking down on everyone else and believing that we are better and more deserving of grace because we have received it from our Father is not how to live for the Lord. Instead, we must surrender our weaknesses, all of them, to the Lord and let the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen us so we can be like Jesus. So we can be free of ourselves and give [love and grace] freely to others. This is how people will know Who we belong to and Who we are living for.
My kids disobey me daily, as any kid does to their parent or guardian. But you know what? I disobey my Heavenly parent, too, because I am weak, flawed, and capable of sin. Still, My Father always forgives me, loves me and welcomes me with open arms.
Grace. God’s riches at Christ’s expense. The free and unmerited favor of God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Grace upon grace. The gift that keeps on giving. May we learn how to give grace as freely as we receive it.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sinsin which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.”Ephesians 2:1-9 (CSB)