Parental Failures and the Gospel
I could begin this post with countless descriptions of my parental failures. Moments when anger got the best of me; times when a little patience would have made all the difference; or just plain insecurities in making the right decisions for my children at every moment and at every stage of their development.
You might agree that feelings of inadequacy are common to parents; whether relatively new like me or seasoned with experience, we feel the weight of the responsibility and the immensity of the task.
But in some ways, feelings of inadequacy can be a blessing. For me, I’m more likely to rest in my abilities when feeling self-assured. But when uncertain, I tend to seek direction. This has been the case in my parenting. My lack of confidence has made prayer my best parental tool thus far. I find myself praying often—not merely out of command—but out of a real need.
Parenting and the Gospel
And what a blessing it has been! A blessing, because it reflects the gospel. This is the heart of the good news: the admission of one’s inability before a gracious and able God. The gospel has nothing to do with your ability to get it right. Rather it is the recognition of God’s demand for perfect obedience in the face of your inability to satisfy that glorious standard (Genesis 6:5; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23). What makes the good news so incredible is that God freely imputes the very righteousness that He Himself requires.
Christ’s righteousness is credited to those who cling to Him alone in trust and not to the pretense of their own goodness (Ephesians 2:1-10). I see this illustrated beautifully in the Luke 18:9-14 parable. This is one of my favorite stories told by Jesus. There we find a tax collector in the temple. We watch as he hangs his head, beats his chest, and prays: “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” Jesus tells us that this man goes home justified and not the Pharisee who boasts of himself in prayer, confidently trusting in his own righteousness before God.
Driven to Seek His Strength
I often feel inadequate as a parent and I thank God for it! For it drives me to lower my head, bend my knees and seek His perfect strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). The blessing is not in the weakness or inadequacy itself but in the humility it offers that draws me nearer to God—and ultimately adds to my understanding of the gospel—which then increases sanctification and my usefulness to God as a parent. Praise be to God from whom all blessings flow!
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