Grace-based parents spend their time entrusting themselves to Christ. They live to know God more. Their children are the daily recipients of the grace these parents are enjoying from the Lord. If you watch them in action, they appear to be peaceful and very much in love with God. They are especially graceful when their children are hardest to love.
Their advice to their children would be a mixture of:
→ “You are a gift from God; go make a difference.”
→ “You may struggle doing the right thing sometimes, but you’re forgiven.”
When it comes to boundaries, their exhortation to their children would be: “If it feels good, examine it.” When it comes to God, they feel they need to seek Him more every day. Most of the time, they’re just grateful people. God has something to say to them: “Those who are right with God will live by trusting in him” (Romans 1:17).
Grace-based families are a breath of fresh air.
Grace-based families are a breath of fresh air. They process their day-to-day life with an air of confidence that comes from knowing God profoundly loves them. The key characteristic of grace-based families is that they aren’t afraid. They are especially unafraid of all the evil around them. They take their cues straight from King David’s playbook:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, emphasis mine)
This changes the way children view their parents and the choices they make on their behalf. It also gives children a much more attractive view of their parents’ faith. Parents who operate by grace instead of by a checklist or popular opinion are a lot easier for their children to trust. And when a child’s world is falling apart, he is more inclined to turn to parents whose primary description is “grace.”
Grace-based parents have a keen awareness of their feet of clay. They understand their own propensity toward sin. This makes the grace and forgiveness they received from Christ much more appreciated. It stirs them to love and good deeds for the right reasons. They aren’t driven by guilt and a need to do penance. The last thing they want to do is stand in judgment of struggling people. They see themselves in these people and understand just how much of God’s love they have received. They are more inclined to want to love these people and care for the genuine needs in their life.
This sounds a lot like how Jesus lived His life. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005).