Do your kids ever disappoint you? Not just a little bit like an unmade bed or a forgotten jacket or even an undeserved push to a younger sibling. I mean really disappoint you…maybe even embarrass you? Recently I was humbled to share moments with two fellow homeschool moms whose kids let them down in pretty big ways. Both were meek and honest. Both were hurt and unsure about what to do to help their children. Both shed tears, and both sought answers to the character issues their kids displayed.
These women modeled true Christ-like humility to me—no pride, no excuses, no defensiveness—just love for their children and a desire to help them. I realized that this what God feels for me—everyday—when I fail him in little ways and when I exhibit the darker character flaws that always lurk beneath the surface. His heart breaks for me, and He wants to help me. He loves me despite the disappointment.
How often in our homeschool circles do we fail to follow Christ’s model? How often do we let pride, defensiveness, and embarrassment for our kids’ shortcomings cause us to overreact or under-react? How often do we judge one another’s parenting “failures” instead of rallying to support our sisters and brothers in Christ?
Perhaps we simply need to shift our perspective to one of gratitude. When our kids disappoint us, we have a rare opportunity to see directly into their souls, the parts of them that wage war over who controls their life—Jesus or self. It is an opportunity to come alongside Christ in the sanctification process, to know how to pray specifically for our children, to discipline our children in love, and to model Christ’s unconditional love in their lives.
Society tells us we fail when our kids fail, that we should be ashamed or embarrassed, but as believers we should know better. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV’84). That’s you and me. That’s your kid and my kid. Anyone who thinks otherwise has forgotten two critical truths about every single human being who walks this earth: we are all sinners, and we are all created in the image of the God of the universe and loved deeply by Him. Nothing we do or say can change either of those truths. Because we are sinners, we all stumble, and we are all unworthy. “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’” (Romans 3:10, NIV’84). Because we are created in God’s image and are loved by Him, we are valued despite our shortcomings. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV’84). How do we reconcile these things? The only way we can: the grace of Jesus Christ.
This week, when your kids disappoint you or you witness someone else’s child fall, resist the natural responses: judgment, shame, pride, embarrassment, anger. Instead, respond with gratitude, not only for the opportunity to help a child along the road to sanctification but also for the opportunity to exhibit the grace, humility, and unconditional love Christ modeled for you.