I'm not sure I understand grace. In fact, I know I don't. In all of the years I've lived and all of the years I might have in front of me, I'm sure beyond a doubt that I have not and will not plumb the depths of this life-altering thing called grace.
It's so other-worldly.
It pours out lavishly. It is not a discerner of circumstances or educational backgrounds or relationships or status. It often doesn't make sense. When we try to capture its fullness in metaphors about ice cream and elephants, we miss its facets and slough off a lot of the natural patina. We cheapen and ignore its many complicated yet simple layers. Because we're just us - messed-up people.
Whenever I mention a grace-filled approach to parenting amongst Christians, many narrow their eyes and view me with suspicion. "What does that mean?", they question, their words thick with distrust, scorn, and self-righteousness. We're particularly good at the self-righteousness. I usually fumble a response because I can sense I'm not in a safe place where the benefit of the doubt is given, or even an honest attempt to truly understand my meaning.
"Do you think Kendra still spanks her kids?", a friend was asked recently. That's funny, isn't it? So, grace in our homes = no discipline. Or, spanking is the only method that will produce good kids. Or something.
And lest we swing that pendulum, let's remember this about grace: it's free. We didn't earn it. We don't deserve it. When Jesus gushed it out all over the world that day He hung on the cross at Calvary, He didn't say, "But I'll take it back if you don't behave." No. What He actually said was, "It is finished."
Which brings us to the discussion of parenting from a place of grace and what that practically looks like. Let's start from three presuppositions:
1. Kids need guidance and discipline
2. You're the parent. Guidance and discipline are in your job description.
3. Grace and discipline are not mutually exclusive