Listen, I see it in my own kids too. Last night I was having a conversation with my 7 year old as to why she had done something that I am sure I had asked her not to do roughly 748,263, she said, “I didn’t think I would get in trouble. I thought I would have 1 more chance.” You see, I want to be a parent that illustrates grace with my kids. I want to be a parent that lives out Matthew 6:14, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” But I also want my kids to understand, that the same guy that said Matthew 6:14 also said Matthew 10:38, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Sometimes in life there is not another chance. Forgiveness – yes – you can always count on God’s forgiveness, but not always another chance.
Disciplining is not always easy, in fact, sometimes it is a battle. But, if we always excuse our kids behavior (“oh they didn’t get a nap” or “they are just hungry”) we are illustrating that obedience is situational and worse yet, based off of feelings.
However I have to be honest, as I was explaining this (ok, it was really more like preaching) to my daughter, the Holy Spirit hit me like a ton of bricks! What kind of example I have been to my kids when it comes to making excuses? Do I hold myself to the same standard? Does the same apply to me? Whenever I am snappy or even rude, am I quick to blame it on my circumstance or what has happened that day (which is rarely, if ever actually a good justification). I started thinking, How many times do I visibly demonstrate grace for my kids, versus how many times do I visibly demonstrate excuses for my kids?
C.S. Lewis said it best, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” No excuses there, just love and grace.