It’s inevitable. If you are a parent, you will be disciplining your kids. In fact, you will likely be showing some type of discipline multiple times throughout the day.
Imagine if you were corrected a number of times within one day by your boss. Not only would it be exhausting, but you would start to wonder if he or she had a personal plot against you.
I was recently in a situation where I had to discipline my son for teasing his sister, for the billionth time. After using my typical 1-2-3 Magic routine, I ended up taking one of his toys away and sending him to his room. A few minutes passed and I went in to let him know he had permission to join the rest of the family back in the living room. That’s when he looked me in the eye and sent a dagger through my heart.
“Daddy, do you still love me even when I do the wrong thing?” he said.
This is what I call a Gospel Parenting opportunity.
It’s hard to sit down and teach your kids theology; you have a hard time trying explaining the complexities of scripture, and your kids have the attention span of a gnat. But, for better or worse, more is caught than taught when it comes to how your kids are learning. This means that you are teaching them more through your actions and reactions than you are through parenting lectures.
Instead of saying, “Of course I love you, son. Just don’t do that again. I’m sick of telling you the same thing over and over.” (which, by the way, I have said those exact words.) Here is what I say when the Spirit of God is working through me and I have a Kingdom perspective instead of a human perspective:
“Son, Jesus always loves daddy, even when I do the wrong thing, over and over again. And I will always love you, even when you do the wrong thing, over and over again.”
At the end of the day, I don’t want my kids to be amazed by my love and forgiveness. I want them to be amazed by the love and forgiveness that Jesus has to offer them. Gospel parenting means that we allow Jesus to be the hero of the story, not us.
Your kids will mess up today, and they will need discipline. Much like you will mess up and need discipline. So the next time you have to correct your children, don’t forget to remind them that your forgiveness is unending, because our God’s forgiveness is unending.