If your teenager came to you and asked if they could speak to you privately, because they’d really messed up, what would be the first thing that would come to your mind as a parent?
- Would you automatically think the worst?
- Would you say something sarcastic like, “Great, what did you do this time?!”
- Would you wait to hear them out and actually just listen to what they had to say?
It was almost 10 o’clock at night, I was sitting on the couch dozing in and out of sleep, when I hear these words from my 13 year old son in a rather serious and concerned voice, “Dad, can I talk to you by yourself in the other room?…” I regained my consciousness and silently prayed for wisdom for whatever was about to follow.
Thankfully, it was nothing to be overly concerned about, yet looking back at that situation I can say I am thankful for:
- A child who has a tender heart towards the things of God and the need to stay right with the Lord.
- A son who feels comfortable enough to talk to his parents about issues in his life.
- A home with a open-door culture of love an acceptance where nothing is off limits to discuss with one another.
While the issue at hand was something that sadly, many Christians would have probably winked at and just considered ‘petty’, it was something about which God had pricked the heart of my son, and I hope that sin never becomes ‘petty’ to him. Thankfully, it was a God-given teachable moment about grace in his life.
Let me ask you, is your home a place of grace? Is your home a non-threatening environment where your kids feel comfortable and allowed to talk to you about the issues of their life?
What does grace look like in a home? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my home a place where MISTAKES ARE ALLOWED?
When someone in your family messes up, are they automatically downgraded for their failure, or encouraged to improve? Is there criticism, or praise? Is there acceptance, or rejection?
Thankfully, we serve a God of second chances, and hopefully, that same spirit would be able to be seen in our families. We all make mistakes, and what better place to be able to make them than in a place where grace abounds – a place where no one is perfect, but everyone is accepted, mistakes and all. God’s plan is that your home be that place.
2. Is my home a place where FORGIVENESS IS GRANTED?
Family is a place where the closest people to each other in all the world will undoubtedly hurt each other from time to time. If forgiveness is not an ongoing practice in your home, ‘family’ is going to become a place characterized by hurt and hate, rather than acceptance and grace.
Why are the people whom God created to be the closest often the ones who become the farthest apart? The simple answer – a lack of forgiveness. When forgiveness is withheld, what follows will be division, anger, and bitterness. But when forgiveness is granted, what follows is a home where peace, restoration, and grace are present.
“Forgiveness is the ingredient that allows home to be a little piece of Heaven on earth.”
3. Is my home a place where LOVE ABOUNDS?
Love is communicated when mistakes are allowed and forgiveness is granted. Love is communicated when praise is present and affection is shown. Love is communicated when grace is given because grace has been received.
Is your home a place where love abounds? A place where your kids know they can come back to someday no matter what they’ve done or where they’ve gone in life?
Sometimes the children in our earthly families will be prodigals, because the truth is that we’re all prodigals in our spiritual family, who’ve been shown grace by our Heavenly Father.
Home ought to be your child’s “safe place”… that place where no matter what is going on in the world around them, they know that home is the place where they can feel free to express themselves and even mess up without fear of rejection or loss of love.
There will be times when grace will be needed more than anything else in your family. But grace is a gift. Grace is a choice. Grace is a place. And hopefully that place is your home.
So, the next time someone in your family says, “Can I talk to you about something?”, what will be your response?…