What I Would Do Differently, Part 4

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, ESV)

Isn’t it amazing that God entrusts newborn babies to people who have absolutely no experience raising children? I remember the panic mixed with joy that I felt when we finally brought our firstborn home from his weeklong stay in NICU. How could they possibly let me take this child home with me? Don’t they know how stupid I am?

I had no experience with babies. I even had to go across the street and ask the neighbor to show me how to fold a diaper (yes, back in the dark ages when a diaper was a piece of cloth that you folded and pinned on, and before the internet, where I could have spared myself the embarrassment — and missed the opportunity to get to know our neighbors better — by searching on “how to fold a diaper”).

I find it comforting to know that an all-knowing and all-powerful God has purposely chosen to give children to parents who have a lot to learn. He’s okay with that — all the better for showing off His glory. The weaker we are, the more we have to rely on Him. We learn to trust Him and not ourselves. The more we trust Him, the more glory He gets, and that’s what we’re here for — to glorify Him.

So I can keep sharing what I wish I had done differently, and know that my children are grateful recipients of God’s grace — a grace that redeems, a grace that is far greater than any mistakes I can make. 

So, more than a year after “What I Would Do Differently, Part 3,” I’m ready to tackle Part 4. What else would I do differently?

I would try even harder to give them hope when I disciplined them.

It’s so easy to focus on what they’ve done wrong and unintentionally discourage them. We can easily forget that their sin gives us a prime opportunity for pointing them to Jesus and His saving work on the cross.

We can tell them the story, read them the accounts from the Bible, pray with them, and thank God for the forgiveness and power that He has given through His Son. When our children come face to face with their sin and their inability to obey God in their own strength, we are given a new chance to spread the hope of the gospel before them as we discipline them. This is the opportunity to assure them that we all sin, because we’re born sinners.

We need to remember this and not be shocked or angered by their sin. Instead of panicking or scolding, we can take hold of the occasion that their sin gives for humbly admitting our own struggles with sin, and our own need for the forgiveness and strength that God gives. Instead of shaming them, we can share in their struggles, gratefully telling them, “Jesus loves you and me so much that He died for us. He took care of this sin. He paid the price for all our sins. They are all taken care of when you put your faith in Him.”

And then we need to remember that truth. Jesus has paid the price for all my sins. I am set free by His loving sacrifice. I’m freed to love and serve and forgive and instruct, and I have hope because He loves me and has bought me with His blood.



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