“How many times do I have to tell you?!”
“Why haven’t you learned already?”
“I shouldn’t have to say it again and again!”
These are some of the things I catch myself saying when correcting my children for the same undesired behavior or issue over and over again. By my responses and words, it would seem that I am surprised to find that my children act foolishly, that they naturally choose sin, and that they need reminding. I so easily forget that training my children up in the Lord TAKES TIME.
Have you ever noticed how often we expect our children to learn quickly those lessons that took us years to grasp, ourselves?
I think of myself as a quick learner. I did well in school, pick up new skills easily, and usually follow through quite well with meeting the expectations others have of me. But when it comes to spiritual lessons, I regularly find myself relearning the same thing over and over again. You’d think I would be a quick study and figure out wise and godly living, and ace the test, like I did so many times while in school.
But walking with Jesus is not cramming for a test. It is not learning what’s required, then proving that knowledge. It is a relationship of love. It is loving what Christ loves and becoming more like him…because he pursues us, because he loved us first. Our Father is patient with us, firm in his reproof, but gentle in his leading.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. -2 Peter 3:9
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? -Romans 2:4
Our kindness will do more to lead our children to repentance than our anger.
What if we were to begin each day meditating on the grace given to us through Christ, and the patience and kindness in which he leads us to repentance? Perhaps we would be compelled to respond to our children in the same way.
It is not that our children need not grow and change. They should! It’s not that we can’t train them to listen and obey. We will! It’s simply that our hearts as mothers and fathers should be so bound up in the forgiveness and goodness of God, that our parenting and expectations of our children reflect that gratitude towards HIM. Then, perhaps we will become more gently and kind toward our children when they act foolishly yet again. And when we make God’s kindness towards us our example, we can trust that it is not our urgency in word or attitude that will change the hearts of our children, but Christ, himself, in his time…patiently drawing us to himself, again and again.
Because of Grace,
Ruth Simons, www.gracelaced.com