It occurred to me, this morning, that I am regularly sinning against my children. In one sense, this isn’t a revelation: parents are sinners. This is generally true… and generally unthreatening. The incident this morning was a little more pointed.
Please allow me a running start. Back in college, my freshman year, I was roomed up with a guy named Joe. At the beginning of the year, we got along swimmingly. By the midpoint, we had some static. Toward the end of the year, whilst vigorously discussing something with him, he said something to me that brought me up short. “Tim,” says Joe, “by the look on your face, it looks you think that the whole world is against you.” Strangely, I remember the feel of the look on my face. My look expressed disgust. I was, at some level, disgusted with Joe. I had not intend to express that to him, but my face betrayed me. He got it.
“…it looks like you think the whole world is against you.” -Joe
The same thing happened this morning with my kids, except they did not say anything. They didn’t need to… God did.
The very moment I was making a semi-snarky comment to my eldest (11 years old), I was convicted that my attitude was deplorable, and that I was simply being unkind. Honestly, I do it more frequently than I would like to admit in this post. To the point: I was being a sinful jerk to my kids. The actual content of what I had to tell them was good and true, but my face betrayed an attitude of disgust, similar to my freshman face with Joe. I caught a glimpse of myself, and my face told the story of a self-righteous, impatient father who was disgusted by his own children. Lame. But that’s me.
I was convicted. I repented before God and to my kids. My sin, however, is deeper than this one incident. Our family life is punctuated by this sort thing from me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of good, healthy, edifying things that I (by God’s grace) contribute to our family. But I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that I contribute my own sinfulness, too.
But in Christ Jesus, God is full of grace. Where sin abounds, grace does super-abound. That’s crazy, but it’s true.
Having caught a glimpse of my own deplorable wickedness, I’m undone. This is right and good. I’m a worm, and there’s nothing to quibble about. That’s that. What hope have I? My only hope is in the Savior who is greater than I, whose grace is greater than my sin. The Great Father inexplicably loved this sinner and sent his own Son to die for me. That Son rose from the dead and returned to the Father to reign. He will return, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead, and his Kingdom shall have no end. There is therefore, now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!
In view of such grace, let us put to death the impatience, pride, arrogance, and other sins that so easily ensnare us, even in our parenting. Let us walk in newness of life, giving no place to the flesh and the deeds thereof. Let us magnify the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Amazing grace (how sweet the sound) that saved a wretch like me.