If we simply push morality by emphasizing our child's right to justice, we miss a great opportunity to lead our kids to show compassion and grace where someone might not deserve it. Our example lies with how Christ deals with us. "...but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV) We don't wait until someone makes us happy to forgive... when you can, take the opportunity of an offense to teach your child about grace. (Keep in mind that your first priority is to protect your child and keep them safe. Sometimes an offense just needs to be handled by the adults. Be discerning.)
When we offer immediate forgiveness to our child we are revealing God's love to them. Let me say that again: When we offer IMMEDIATE forgiveness (meaning we don't make our kids "pay" for our forgiveness... we give it freely), we are revealing God's love to them. It is important not to confuse forgiveness with permissiveness. A consequence for disobedience is not the same as keeping record of wrongs.
It is pretty easy to tell a toddler, "NO!" when they are reaching for a hot pan on a hot stove. We SEE the danger, we know exactly what horrible outcome might occur. We parent boldly. But something seems to happen as our children grow and they learn the fine arts of back talk, sulking, and master manipulation. No one wants to be the "bad guy"; But Love protects. Loving your child means placing age appropriate boundaries around them and refusing to let them break through even when they are trying really, REALLY hard.
Prov. 22:3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Prov. 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding
Even now the Shepherd's lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
By His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
There within His arms to rest.
(1 John 4:7-12 ESV)
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