Are you an exhausted parent?
Proud of your children who obey so well?
Despairing over a child who rejects everything you stand for?
Severe in your punishments and prone to anger because of the fear of what other people will think when they see your kids acting out?
Do you parent by ten point lists that guarantee success?
Are you pretty sure that if you parent well enough, your kids will be saved? Are you shocked and frustrated by your children’s sin?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you are in need of some grace, my friend. I know that I am in desperate need of this grace!
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson write about these topics in their book Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. They challenge us to consider if our parenting is under the law or under the gospel. Is your parenting any different from that of people of other religions? These people also teach their children to be “good”, obey authority, and be religious, but they don’t teach their children the gospel story of salvation already accomplished through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross.
Yet, we Christian parents seem bent on raising our children in such a way that emphasizes obedience and good works over grace.
Too many children grow up in Christian homes and completely rebel because they think that they will never be “good enough” to be worthy of salvation. Too many children grow up in Christian homes and think that they are saved because they go to church on Sundays and follow a list of dos and don’ts. And too many Christian parents are certain that if they just do a good enough job parenting, their kids will be saved. We teach our kids to cultivate Mommy and Daddy’s approval, teaching them to please man, instead of pointing out their need for grace from a holy God Who loves them enough to send His Son for them. (And if you are saying “Well shouldn’t we teach our kids to obey?”, the answer is “Yes, of course.” But we must remember that salvation does not come through obedience.)
Give Them Grace challenged me to look at my own parenting through the lens of the gospel. This book also challenged me to use everyday situations to show my children the gospel, and then pray for God to work in their hearts and in mine. We need to remind our compliant, rule-obeying children (and ourselves!) that we will never measure up to the law and that we cannot be saved by our own good works. We must look to Jesus’ finished work on the cross. We must remind our rebellious, always-in-trouble children (and ourselves!) that Jesus has already paid the price for sinners like us when we turn to Him for salvation. We must look to Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Salvation and changed hearts come from God and God alone.
Give Them Grace points out our utter weakness and impotence as Christian parents, then points us to a great God Who can overcome our weakness and work in our lives and the lives of our children for His Own glory. This is a powerful book that will challenge you to become more gospel centered in your parenting. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you are only going to read one book on parenting in addition to the Bible, please read this book.
Have you read this book? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Please share in the comment section below.