Sunday, March 25, 2018

Grace for the Descpicable

There are many days I look back over my day and think about how little I accomplished. Or at least it feels like very little. Having young children, it's amazing the amount of time it takes to do just the basic daily actions. I got them fed, kept them clean, and guided them through basic daily activities and interactions (lots of "no, no, don't do that!" and "be nice" and "thank you for listening!"). The many little things I never used to have to think about, I now have to constantly be aware of as I'm caring for helpless kiddos.

Basically, it feels like all I accomplished throughout day was just basic functioning. Eating, cleaning, potty training, repeat. It's funny how time consuming it is to just maintain status quo. But you know it's gotta be done, otherwise the little children would wreak havoc!

And then my mind starts to wander toward other children... The ones whose parents that don't seem to care about helping them understand basic functioning. The ones who've been neglected on being taught the absolute basics. Their parents or guardians have failed them. We look at those situations or read those stories and are appalled at the suffering of those children due to an adult's selfishness. To neglect children of these basic needs is despicable.

It can get easy to feel puffed up about our own "goodness" when hearing of such stories. We start to forget about our own sinfulness and get blissfully and self-righteously ignorant of our own short-comings. We forget about the One who makes it possible for us to be good in the first place.

Galatians 6:3-5
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.

Extending Grace

Keeping up with the highly demanding job of raising young children is hard. So very hard. And some parents fail. Some parents have never healed from their own messed up childhood, and I only imagine that they start to feel like they're drowning when they have their own kids requiring so much more of them. They feel like more is required of them than what they have to offer. They can't keep up, feeling crushed under the mental and emotional toll.  I imagine they feel like they amount to nothing, so they think "why bother?"

I'm not saying any of this to make excuses for neglectful parents. And in no way am I saying that people shouldn't be held responsible when children suffer at the hands of those who are supposed to take care of them (check out Matthew 18:6).

But I am saying let us not forget Who gives us every good thing in life. I know the only reason I'm able to be consistently there for my children is because of the One Who is consistently there for me. In and of myself, I'm not any better than other parents. My sinful nature renders me incapable of any holy or righteous act. Any goodness that comes from me is simply an extension of God's work through me. Every diaper change. Every meal prep. Every tedious correction (even the 100th time!). Even every prayer prayed. It's all Him.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

So whenever we are tempted to think of how much better we are than others (be it other parents, peers, siblings, coworkers, family members, friends or acquaintances), let us first remember the depths of our own depravity. Let us not forget the terribly selfish things we ourselves are capable of when left to our devices, apart from the Holy Spirit. When we remember just how dark our own hearts are, it becomes easier to have grace for the despicable.

1 Peter 1:17-23
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 

1 Peter 3:8-9
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

No comments :

Post a Comment