Sunday, June 12, 2011
Mothers, Give Each Other Grace
“Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”-Matthew 7:1-2
I have found this verse has come true in my life.
How many times have I judged parents by their child’s behavior? Truthfully, more than I can count. I have self-righteously torn others down in order to build myself up. Maybe not out loud, but in my own mind. God knows that my motives have not always been pure.
Recently, a mother who did not know me very well, grossly misjudged me as a parent. She concluded I didn’t discipline my children because of some bad behavior that she saw from one of my children. She chose to cut off any relationship with our family. I cannot tell you the pain my children and I experienced through this severing. I examined my parenting, critiquing myself from all angles. Believe me, I am my worst critic. I struggled against feelings of hopelessness and defeat. I came to the conclusion that I cannot control every situation and every action my child takes. I try giving them privileges. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t and trust is broken, I pull back on the reins and try to discipline with love and wisdom.
I did not choose to have a strong-willed child. God chose me. He has entrusted me with a special gift. I can be downright humiliated sometimes by my child’s lack of self-control in public, especially when he doesn’t get his way. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t disciplined for it. People who take the time to get to know me, truly know that my heart is to raise godly offspring.
I keep asking myself, “Where’s the grace?”. Now, when I see a mother struggling with the behavior of her child, instead of condemning her and judging her mothering, I’m going to assume that she is doing everything she can. I’m going to first pray for her, and then I’m going to do something about it. I can choose to come alongside her, loving and encouraging her to stay strong. Perhaps I could even take the child off of her hands for a few hours to give her an emotional break.
Through this experience, I realized I had just a taste of what it was like for Jesus to be misjudged. Only Jesus was insulted, spat upon, and betrayed by his own countrymen. The same people who welcomed him into Jerusalem at the beginning of the week, were the same people who shouted, “Crucify him!”, by Friday.
We, women can be just as fickle. Instead of “crucifying” those around us, let us love them enough to spend time with them and truly see how they interact with their children. After you have built a relationship with her and you see a real problem, especially where sin is involved (rage, verbal abuse, sarcasm, permissiveness, ect), then you might have an opportunity to lovingly exhort her IF she asks for your advice. Be careful though, check your motives! Remember what goes around comes around.
I think most of the Christian mothers out there are doing the best they can do. We are all muddling through this thing called parenting. We are all wanting to raise our children to be responsible, God-fearing adults. We’re going to make some mistakes. And yes, we are going to be misjudged.
No matter how much you pour yourself into your children, teaching them the principles of the Bible, they can still exercise their freewill and walk away from it all. It boils down to the choices THEY make. If we have given them that Biblical foundation, they will know the way home. I am reminded of the Prodigal Son. What a perfect image of God’s grace.
Let us extend that kind of grace to each other. Don’t just write them off if you see a problem. Endure with them patiently. They may desperately need the encouragement you have to offer.
“And we urge you, brothers (sisters), warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:14-18
From One Mom to Another,