Sunday, February 24, 2013


From Beth Templeton:

If you're like most of us, you wonder if all this talk about relationship and grace means that we just let our children do what they want. 
Are we saying it is ok for them to misbehave? 
Don't we have to "lay down the law" sometimes?
Are you saying we become lazy parents? 
Don't we have boundaries? 

Absolutely, we have boundaries and rules! I like what Tim Kimmel says in his book, Grace Based Parenting, about family rules. He talks about how some we write in pencil, some in pen, or a sharpie-- and I would add some we write with our blood! He explains that Grace helps you to determine the rules and boundaries for your family, it does not eliminate them. Grace is the power of the cross put into effect in the life of your family-- it is no mushy free-for-all! Grace does indeed call forth and require certain behaviors, for it sees who the child is in Christ and works to disciple and train to that reality. Grace is often firm, but never harsh. Grace is intentional and passionate. The Apostle Paul spoke about the effect of Grace in his life in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

Grace Empowers
Grace will empower you as a parent, calling you to deeper places of love, both between you and your Father and between you and your child.

To me, the main difference that Parenting in Grace makes is in how I attend to the sin of my children, not that I don't attend to it at all. Under law, when my child disobeys, I make them pay. And I withdraw relationship, at least for a while. I let them know that their actions have created a distance between us. That my displeasure and disappointment, along with their behavior, has resulted in the withholding of my love and approval. Sound familiar? Yikes! I suspect we have all done this to some extent-- it is a normal human emotional response. 

But I am learning that in Grace I need never use emotional distance as a parenting tool. For the Lord has promised me that because of Jesus and His finished work on the cross, He will never leave me nor forsake me. (Hebrews 13:5) He has made it clear that I have access to Him at all times, not based on my bad behavior that day, and not even based on my good behavior! No. My access to His love is mine through the Goodness of Jesus, His righteousness imputed to me. So, as I learn to enjoy this relationship, I am able to mirror that in my relationship with my child. 

God is Parenting Me As I Parent My Child
You are going to find that God comes alongside you to parent you through the process of parenting your child. Many of are truly pioneering a new thing. Maybe your parents did not know the Lord the way you do. Father God wants to parent you even now. I am 24 years into this parenting adventure, and still rely on the Lord to show me a new approach for a particular child at a particular time. I am learning, growing and changing-- because I can! Under the Law there is rigidity, lots of black and white. Under Grace there is the movement, growth and freedom that is inherent in relationship. Relationships are not static are they? 

We want to Parent our Child the way God Parents Us. How would you describe God’s treatment of you?
He is altogether lovely, and so very kind. Think of how He has parented you. Has He ever come to you wagging His finger in disgust, so ashamed of you, telling you you must get your act together before He can even deal with you. Never! The more we experience this wonderful love for ourselves, the more able we are to give this to our children. 

Grace Accesses the Power of God
Under Grace I have the freedom to love unconditionally. 
Grace is what enables us, and our children too, to access the power of God! Because of Grace I can turn to the Lord even at my worst moment and receive His help. Because of Grace I can teach my children that when they sin they have not cut themselves off from me because I am angry or disappointed in them. Nor do they have to hurry up and behave better before I will allow them to draw close. I may need to take some time to let my emotions calm down and align my feelings with the Truth, but I never need to punish my child by withdrawing my approval or love. They too have access to the power of God that helps them in their weakness. They too discover that grace empowers them to obey. 

Yes, We Do Have Rules!
So yes, we do have rules. For instance, we have decided that in the Templeton family we are going to worship with other believers-- that is, we go to church. That is a rule that we have written in blood, so to speak. It is in our relationship with Jesus that we make this decision. If you are a child in our home, you go to church. Grace helped us decide this rule, but we have found that grace also has helped us love our children through seasons where they have struggled with it. 

We have had many rules over the years that have been penciled in, ready to be erased and adjusted or rewritten according to the season we are in. Rules in Grace exist in the context of a loving relationship, whereas rules in the Law exist for the purpose of preventing or avoiding sin. And I'm sorry to say that try as we might, rules simply cannot play that role. 
But regardless, Grace sees the breaking of a rule as an Opportunity to train and to teach, not as an opportunity to extract payment through punishment and judgement. 

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? Hebrews 12:7-8

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].
2 Corinthians 9:8


  1. Oh, Beth. Your words are full of truth. Your heart full of grace. I loved reading this, being reminded and encouraged. I've learned that grace is the best way to parent. It changes relationships, changes the mood of the entire home. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Susan. You are such an encouragement to me! I so agree with you--"grace changes relationships and the mood of the entire home." Yes! Change away Lord, for we need the wonderful change that you bring! Blessings on you and your family, Susan.

  2. Beth, What wonderful wise words for me today! I can't tell you how thankful I am for this post. I was praying on my way home from running errands today about this very thing. We have a saying at Lilburn Alliance church, "God is good ALL THE TIME, all the time GOD IS GOOD!" thanks, Becky Alexander

    1. I am so thankful to God that this post has been helpful and timely Becky! I so agree with you and your church-- He is good!! Blessings on you and your precious family!