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Grace and Truth as a Parent - Issue 171
October 15, 2010
|Hi there! ....
Sorry there was no newsletter last week – a glitch in technology (I think I didn’t press the right button!!) Peter and I went away for a week, leaving the kids behind. It was a first for Josh ‘batching’ and the other kids stayed with friends. A few days before we came home Nomi wasn’t well and ended up in hospital for the night – a very hard thing for her and us to do while we were away. But we were so very appreciative of our friends – obviously they would look after her but the assurance they gave her and us, and the way they loved went the extra mile. It was very much “we are in this together” – an attitude that comes not just from good friendships but from belonging to the body of Christ. We are blessed to have such good friends around us. Nomi is fine now though very tired from having experienced such levels of pain.
A week is a very long time to be away from your kids – even big kids! It was a joy to see them at the airport to welcome us home. They of course all looked taller and more responsible! Being away gave the kids an opportunity to work together as a family – to be on the alert for each other without our direction. When we are out and about I often call them, not by individual name but collectively by “Letchford kids” – it is as much their identity as Josh, Jess, Nomi and Daniel. It was good to see that this had expression even without Mum and Dad around.
Live life with your kids!
If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.
Grace and Truth as a ParentI am reminded of the story found in 2 Samuel where Nathan the prophet went to David the King. Nathan’s heart was heavy with knowing what David had done and yet he came along side of David and through his choice words grabbed David’s attention. Nathan started to tell a story of a rich man who had a lot of sheep and a poor man who had but one sheep. When a guest arrived in the rich man’s house the rich man went and killed the poor man’s sheep for the celebration. Well, David was outraged, he saw the injustice, he saw the wrong done. He wanted to fix this and demanded to know “who was this rich man?” Nathan replied, “It was you, O King.” Nathan then delivered the Word of God to David. David immediately saw his sin and repented. Nathan assured David of God’s forgiveness and yet there was a consequence as well.
This is the model of heart parenting.
Nathan became aware of the sin David had committed. Nathan became privy to this information only because of his relationship with God; God spoke to Nathan. We need to have such a relationship with God that we hear Him telling us what is going on in our children’s lives.
When Nathan went to David, he came with a caring heart; he didn’t come and pronounce judgment and condemnation. I envisage that Nathan came with a heavy heart. Nathan knew God’s heart, and God had chosen David as King, Nathan also would have known David’s heart; that he desired to love and worship God. By choosing his words carefully Nathan gave David opportunity to search his heart, acknowledge his sin and respond to God.
There are a few thoughts for us to consider here:
Nathan delivered God’s Word to David. He didn’t pull any punches: David was left knowing that God saw everything, that what he had done was wrong and that God was displeased. So even though Nathan started carefully, it wasn’t that he ignored the real situation, but he had removed David’s defensiveness and had gained his trust. David knew that God was in this somewhere and David listened. Nathan was God’s mouthpiece to speak into David’s life, to bring correction in his life. And yet Nathan kept that balance between grace and truth. This is at the core of heart parenting – we need to address issues; we need to bring God’s standard and judgment (this is the truth aspect) AND we need to bring His mercy and grace into our children’s lives.
When David was contrite and repented Nathan was quick to confirm God’s forgiveness, “The Lord has forgiven you, you are not going to die.” I see Nathan as a different character to Jonah – Jonah wasn’t on the same page as God – Nathan was. I see that Nathan delivered God’s forgiveness with forgiveness himself (afterall, David was his King) whereas Jonah resented God’s forgiveness towards the people of Nineveh.
We need to be quick to forgive our children just as God forgives them. Just as Nathan assured David of God’s forgiveness so to do we need to assure our children of God’s forgiveness. But … (and there is a but) just as Nathan continued, “but because you did this ….” there was a consequence and often we still need to give our children a consequence. Forgiveness affects our relationship and our children need to be restored into full love and support and yet sometimes there will be consequences for their actions that cannot be ignored.
The way Nathan dealt with David (on behalf of God) is truly a good model for us in dealing with our children. Let’s recap:
Our children belong to God – we are God’s chosen mouthpiece, much like Nathan was in this story. Our role is to help our children see God’s expectations, to help see God’s judgments and God’s forgiveness. We can’t offer that forgiveness, that is done between our children themselves and God and yet we can point the way and define the need. We must address our disciplinary times with God in the picture. It is He who sets what is right and wrong, it is He who offers the forgiveness (remember, Truth and Grace).
For the law was given by Moses,
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