Paul David Tripp: The Biggest Thing Christian Parents Forget

Today’s devotional is adapted from my brand-new book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family.

Notice the title of the book. This is a gospel principle. Just because I’m applying it to parenting doesn’t mean it only has relevance for parents. This principle—mercy—has implications for every situation, location and relationship in the Christian life.

So let’s begin!

One of the biggest errors Christian parents make is to forget. Not forgetting the baby’s diaper bag. Not forgetting to pack the school lunch. Not forgetting to pick the teenager up after practice.

No, there’s something much bigger that we forget.

When we, as earthly mothers and fathers, forget the daily mercies we’ve received from the Heavenly Father’s hands, mercies we could have never earned, deserved or achieved, it becomes much easier for us not to parent our children with mercy.

What is mercy? Mercy is tenderheartedness and compassion toward someone in need.

Our children are just that—needy. They need guidance and protection, they need help and rescue, they need wisdom and instruction, they need confrontation and discipline, they need patience and grace, they need love and compassion, they need support and provision, and they need to see God and themselves with accuracy.

There’s never been a day when your children haven’t needed mercy. We’ve been called to parent precisely because of their sin, weakness and failures. Every moment of the foolishness and failure of our children should remind us why the Heavenly Father provided children with parents. Because of this, your primary calling as a parent is not first to represent God’s judgment, but rather to constantly deliver his mercy.

You see, parenting is all about being God’s ambassadors in the lives of our children. It’s about faithfully representing his message, his methods and his character. It’s about working to make the invisible mercy of God visible as we respond with mercy toward our kids.

That’s an incredibly high and holy calling, but it will also prove to be perhaps your most difficult calling. I don’t know about you, but mercy simply isn’t natural for me. It’s natural for me to be harsh. It’s natural for me to be demanding and impatient. It’s natural for me to be a bit irritated that I have to repeat myself.

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Source: Church Leaders