As I was reading through the book of Galatians recently in my Bible Study time, I realized how much of what we believe affects our parenting. There is a tendency, among Christian mothers especially, to live under a huge weight called law.
Now, law (that is, God’s standards) is a good thing when properly used.
Paul teaches us that the law was our schoolmaster to point us to our need of a Savior (Galatians 3:24).Paul teaches the law was our schoolmaster to show our need of a Savior (Gal 3:24). Click To Tweet
The yoke that the Scribes and Pharisees were putting on the people, an unattainable standard of outward perfection to earn God’s favor, was a heavy burden to bear.
Jesus, in contrast, had an easy yoke and a lighter burden, as He walks with us, and as we walk by faith.Jesus, in contrast, had an easy yoke and a lighter burden Click To Tweet
The Sad Result of Trusting the Works of the Law over Grace
Over a decade ago, there was a news story that rocked many of us. Most of you, even if you aren’t a news junkie, probably heard at least something about it.
A mother with five young children murdered her children while in the throes of postpartum depression, worried that she had “ruined” them with her parenting failures. Concerned for their eternal destiny and worried that her failure as a Christian mom was going to doom them to hell, she ended their lives before they were old enough to be held accountable for their sins.
We hear things like this and we wonder how a mom, particularly one that claims to be a Christian, do such a thing.
If you are a homeschooling mom with several children, as I am, then you may even find yourself in the awkward position of having everyone around you eyeing you suspiciously too.
It took quite a bit of convincing to assure my extended family that I wasn’t going to do the same, particularly since my children were all about the same ages as her children, and I was going through a hard, legalistic phase in my walk with God. After all, apparently no one around her suspected anything until it happened.
This situation, to be honest, made me re-evaluate much of my parenting theology.
Do I trust God’s Grace or His Law?
The question we need to ask honestly is this, “Is it all about me, and my performance, or is it by faith in God’s grace through Jesus Christ that saves our children as surely as it saves me?”
You see, if you believe your children’s eternal destiny and spiritual health is based solely on your works as a mother, you will be crazy with worry and stress too. You’ll be angry and grouchy all the time. You’ll view every part of your parenting as a battlefield to fight and conquer instead of a journey to enjoy.
Law, of course, has its purpose. It’s good and right to train our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). It’s proper to limit or avoid exposure to those things which are not good for them. That’s part of our job description as parents.
However, we fall upon God’s grace as Christians, because we know we can’t possibly measure up to His standards. This is how you become a Christian in fact — looking to Christ’s redemptive work on the cross and trusting in Him alone.We fall upon God's grace because we know we can't possibly measure up to His standards Click To Tweet
In the same way, we need to realize that our children, no matter how well we do parenting them, will never measure up to God’s perfect standard, and likewise need His grace and unconditional love to save them.