Friday, March 2, 2012

I'M A FAN...

This is a tough one for sure. We all want good behavior, and rightly so. Good behavior makes a difference! I'm a "like" button fan for sure. 

In the Templeton household we've had our share of good behavior--we have seven wonderful children and we are proud of them-- 
and our share of bad behavior..... (I know you are right now thinking, "do tell!" but for the sake of privacy and honor it will just have to suffice for me to tell you that when I say bad, I really do mean bad.) 
You know how when you are tired or stressed you tend to be reduced to your least attractive character traits or weaknesses--
what I call the lowest common denominator? 

Or is it just me.... 

Well, over the years I have sometimes been reminded that when your least attractive character traits were formed in the setting of a Russian orphanage, not to mention in the places of lack, neglect and fear that come from relinquishment, then you are talking about a seriously low common denominator! I wasn't prepared for it when we adopted. Were you? 

That is all to say that I definitely want to go on record that this parent prefers good behavior every time.

As a lover of the Good News of God's Grace, and as a recipient of this Unmerited Favor, I have thought a lot and often about this question: 
what does the Gospel of Grace look like in those 'rubber meets the road' moments in your home and mine?
I wonder what it looks like to Parent in Grace rather than parent by the law.
I wonder what will happen if I choose Relationship over Rules.
What does it look like? 

It seems simpler to just go after good behavior--be nice, be polite, obey, date nice Christian people, don't get into big trouble....

Grace seems scary.
I am embarrassed to confess that as a parent I have an ongoing illicit attraction to the Law. Surely if I create more rules, or enforce the rules more strictly, surely that will produce the godly children I have given my life to raise. 
Surely a little guilt here and a smattering of shame there, accompanied by some good old fashioned fear, would produce the godly results I desire.

Grace seems scary.
But surely the kind of people who really live the life I desire for my children are the ones who really Get Grace. 
The ones who obey the best are the ones who see it-- that their relationship with God is not about what they do or don't do. That the power to live a sanctified life is based on Christ's obedience, not their own. 

Grace is Power. 
Grace is Relationship. 
Grace is Motivation.
Grace is Freedom.
Grace is Real. 
Grace is Jesus.

Oh yes, I am definitely a big fan of good behavior.
But I am a bigger fan of my unbroken, heart-softened, fully-connected Relationship with my child.

For a wonderful picture of Parenting in Grace, where Relationship trumps Rules, read Susan Hillis' post, "WHAT IF?"


  1. Thanks Beth, as always. I love love this post.

    1. Thank you Kim! Your encouragement makes my day better. I hope you are well. I saw that you were making changes in your blog life-- got to keep it fresh!
      Bless you.