Bringing Grace Home
When a home is founded in grace, a free and happy family is the result.
There are so many wonderful things to say about grace. I frequently write about the freedom that comes with grace because it’s awesome. Grace frees us from sin! Grace frees us from slavish obedience to rules! We are free, because Jesus helps us. The Spirit guides and advises us.
Do you see what this means? We don’t have to be afraid to mess up.
We don’t have to be afraid when we mess up. I mean, you know we’ll mess up! But there’s no fear. We don’t have to be afraid, because we have help. Think about that. Grace frees us from fear!
Make grace the foundation of your family, and there will be no fear in your home. Home will be a place of freedom. Moms, dads, and children are all happy. Everyone is growing and thriving in holy and loving lives. People will look at your family and say, “Man! What are you doing? We want that too!”
I mean, who wouldn’t?
But they will want to know what rules you live by. They want the list of the ten things you should do, or the four things you should do every day to be happy. We’ve become a little bit list-happy. We’re more than a little bit rule-happy. Christians will ask the moms and dads, “What law did you give your family, that they live so well?”
That’s not the right question! Grace is not about list of rules and laws.
When people don’t understand grace, they think about dropping a Bible verse and making a rule with it. That’s not me. I’m not a legalistic father who drops Bible verses on my sons when they’re not doing right. I want my sons to know grace.
I can hear you saying, “Jeremy, do you mean you never discipline your children?” No, I don’t meant that. Of course my wife and I discipline our sons. It’s our responsibility to teach them to be good men, and we are watching them grow into leaders. They are growing into servant leaders. We are very proud of them.
We discipline our sons when needed. They might get sent to their rooms to cool off, or lose some time on an iPad or whatever. But in grace, we don’t use anger as a means of control.
Parents are very eager to allow their children to express emotion. But have you ever noticed that we actually only encourage it when those emotions feel good to us? We don’t get mad at our kids for being happy. We don’t get mad at them for laughing. We don’t get mad at them for being joyful. We don’t even get mad at them when they’re sad and crying.
But when they get angry, we get mad at them!
This is backwards. It makes no sense. Why would you tell your child, “I’m angry at you because you’re angry”?
Obviously we don’t want our kids to be angry. It happens, but what do they learn from us if we respond with anger? Nothing! It’s a vicious cycle.
Our anger comes from trying to control our children, and control is actually something we do for ourselves. We want to control our children because we want to control our reactions to them. We’re trying to avoid messing up and getting angry.
That’s the basis of legalistic thinking in families. We don’t put rules and laws into place for our children’s benefit. We put them into place for our own benefit. We want to be in control.
Grace frees us from that. An angry child is not a reason to get angry. In fact, I think responding with anger is the worst thing you could possibly do. Why not just take things as they come, accept our children’s anger, and then simply be with them?
You can acknowledge that there’s something going on. Talk to them about it. Maybe there’s something going on that you don’t know about. Maybe there’s something troubling them. Whatever it is, getting angry with them won’t help either of you.
Grace, on the other hand, transforms the situation. Grace says, “How can I help you? How can I love on you? How can I make you feel better? I can see that you’re having a bad time. How can I be here for you?”
When you do that for your child, then all of a sudden a bad day can become a good day. You’re not just someone else pounding on them in the midst of their bad day. You are with them as a loving help to them.
I’m far from perfect, but I sincerely try not to get angry at my sons when they get angry. Instead, I just let them be angry. And then we talk about it.
This is what happens when a home is founded in grace. My family loves and laughs and thrives because I didn’t give them a rule. I didn’t give them a law to live by. My family is free.
My wife and I brought grace into our home and we are happy. With God’s grace, we are really truly free!
I am the author of To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball (2013), and my second book is in the works. Visit my Huffington Post page here. I blog here. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter: @JeremyAffeldt.