Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Perfect Mom Can't Share the Gospel

        



        What is your first reaction when you lose your temper with your kids? When harsh words fly out of your mouth do you quickly smooth your hair back into place, sweep the harsh words under the rug as if they never happened, and then find a subtle way of telling the kids they deserved it? Mommy's anger was their fault - part of their consequence so to speak. A frustrated sigh and the moment is passed. Unfortunately that's how I often respond. 



        Are we afraid to admit failure to our kids? 

        One of the most heartbreaking things for Christian parents is children who grow up and rebel. Often what is going on in the mind of a rebellious teen is, "My parents can't relate to me. They are too perfect." Or, for kids who can see through us, "My parents can't relate to me. They think they are perfect." 

        We spend an awful lot of time and energy covering the very thing that points to the need for the gospel: our sin! We call it being tired. Needing coffee. Having too much on our plate. Not having enough time, money, space, etc. It's a lot more comfortable to use an excuse like that than to admit to our kids that we blew it. 


        We know that we are not perfect and it scares us. As Christian moms we feel the constant pressure to set a good example to our kids. We are especially terrified of seeing our worst sins begin to manifest themselves in the lives of our children. Ironically, instead of sinning less in front of our kids we often wind up trying to cover it up. Never confronting our sin doesn't actually hide it from our kids - it just confuses them. It diverts attention away from Christ, not to Him. 

        The foundation of the gospel is grace. If we are teaching our kids that they need forgiveness but are unwilling to admit it ourselves we paint an incomplete picture of the gospel. 


        So how do we turn our embarrassing moments of failure into beautiful opportunities for the gospel?

        First, our kids need to see us recognize sin as sin in our own lives. Don't try to disguise it. "That was wrong of Mommy. I should not have gotten angry and impatient with you. Jesus is never impatient with me and I want to be like Him." Then we can show them what to do with that sin - confess it to God and receive His free forgiveness. Their brains will begin to absorb it: "If Mommy needs a savior, I must need one, too."

        Think about the long term ramifications of coming alongside your child as a fellow sinner in need of a savior. You are the authority above your child, but you share a common Authority above that. What a beautiful connection to have with your child! 


        Jesus came to save imperfect mommies. Therefore, only imperfect mommies can share the gospel. Let that take some pressure off. You're not perfect - and it's okay!  You are a living testimony of grace - a working model for your kids to observe every day.  



        Martin Luther recognized that our natural inclination is to make less of our sin. This automatically makes less of our savior. "Be a sinner and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger."1 Help your kids understand that sin is part of life. Let them see it drive you to the cross so they learn to do the same. 

        We often make a big deal out of parents being good role models for their kids. This can subtly shift into idolizing our position, turning Mom and Dad into mini gods. We're afraid to show our imperfections because it might hurt our image. But our example should point our kids back to Christ, not ourselves. They need to see Mommy humbly seeking grace from a source outside of herself. 

        When we are led by the gospel we will be equipped to lead our children in the gospel. Do you want to be a perfect mommy or a forgiven mommy? Only one points to Christ. 


        What do you think? What are other practical ways we can use our own shortcomings to share the gospel with our kids? Anyone brave enough to share a real life example? 

        



        

        






1
Flores, Erika Bullmann, and Dr. Walch, Georg Johann. Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften. Letter 99, Paragraph 13. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D., Vol. 15, cols. 2585-2590.


5 comments:

  1. I just discovered your blog through a share of one of your posts and I love it. We need so many gospel-focused blogs out there spreading the gospel that we need. Keep writing what matters most in motherhood - Christ and the Cross. Bless you!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah! I love meeting other like-minded moms.

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  3. I got frustrated with my 11- month old daughter when she wanted to be held. I thought cleaning out the spice cabinet and cooking dinner was a good idea. Bad idea! I was frustrated because I couldn't do what I wanted to do. I got upset at my baby girl for wanting to bed held and getting into everything. My heart is breaking tonight. I want to talk to her in the morning.

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    1. Quinn, nothing makes me want to go hug my babies more than when I put them to bed in frustration. I know exactly how you feel. If you trust Jesus, remember that he paid for that sin. Don't worry about your baby - He loves her even more than you do. He is watching out for both of you tonight. There will be grace to meet you in the morning.

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  4. So excited to have found your blog, and to be learning these lessons along with you! ethanandelizabethhelm.wordpress.com

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