Nov 22, 2012

Is your home marked by grace? Six marks of a grace-filled home

In the last post we thought a little about the danger of a rules-based parenting model as well as the opportunity we have as Christian parents to model grace in the home. In particular we wanted to highlight that in our approach to parenting we have an opportunity to commend the gospel to our children by the very way we live it out as we raise them.

If we adopt a legalistic attitude to parenting we teach our children that love is conditional on performance even as we tell them that God’s love shown to us in Jesus is unconditional. Should we be surprised if  our children reject the gospel because they are confused as to the character of God? The first diagram represents a home where the culture of the house contradicts and undermines the message of the gospel we proclaim.

Six marks of a grace-filled home

A grace-filled home will be a place where the grace of God, the love of the Father, will be worked-out  in the way we raise our children. I’m sure there are many more things that could be said but here are just six ideas as to what that would look like;

  • Fun – Just as our Father in heaven delights in us as his children so we too are to delight in our children. We must find the time to enjoy their company, to take pleasure in what gives them pleasure.
  • Forgiveness – Just as our Father is quick to forgive our many failings so we will be quick to forgive our children even as we discipline them.
  • Firm but fair discipline –God does discipline his children as a father so must we.
  • Family comes first – God is a God of relationships; Father, Son & Spirit who delight to serve and bless each other.  So as we reflect his likeness we will raise our children we will sacrifice self-interest as we put their interests ahead of our own.
  • Freedom – We will not control our children and impose our will upon them.  Our father in heaven gives us freedoms and sometimes we make bad choices but under his watchful eye he let’s us take responsibility for our actions. So too we need to learn to let our children express their personality, gifts, character and also allow them to take appropriate risks.
  • Failure – Just as we need to hear from our Father in heaven ‘It’s all right. I forgive you. I’ll help you recover from the mistakes you’ve made with your kids’ so we too need to communicate something of that same ‘permission to fail.’

Becoming a home of grace

The second diagram represents a home in which grace is beginning to shape attitudes, habits, parenting, etc. so that the gospel is being worked-out in the home.
Surely our prayer and heart’s desire is that as we grow in grace as Christians so, increasingly, our parenting becomes ever more consistent with the parenting we receive from God. That we really do treat our children as God treats us. The third diagram is our aim – a home that commends the gospel in every way because it’s culture is fully consistent with the gospel we proclaim.


Tim Kimmel in his book Grace based parenting which was a kick start to the ideas represented above writes: You wonder, ‘How am I to raise up children to love and serve God?’ The answer is actually not that difficult. You simply need to treat your children the way God treats you.  He does it in His grace.

And here’s the good part. If the only thing you get right as parents is His grace, everything else will be just fine.


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