Parenting reveals what I really believe about the gospel. It's a window that sheds light on the truths that are in my head and are slowly making their way into my heart. And whatever comes out of my heart in those parenting moments is a good indicator of how well I understand the gospel. Let me give you an example. The other day one of my girls shocked me by saying some unkind words right to my face. I felt hurt, and I felt fear. Hurt that I could be spoken to that way and fear that my daughter was capable of those kind of words. So in that moment I reacted in anger. I raised my voice and told her to go to her room. After a long discussion we came to a place of reconciliation. But I felt like a failure as a father. How could she say that? Where had I gone wrong?
In that moment, I was so focused on my feelings I quickly forgot the gospel. The gospel says I am a sinner capable of using sinful words just like my daughter. But my hope is not in my performance or in hers. My hope is in Christ rescuing her just as he has done for me. Because in Christ, I am a sinner that's been forgiven. In Christ, I am not a failure. In Christ, I am always in union with Christ in his resurrection and perfection. So in Christ, I'm a perfect parent regardless of my performance.
So what do I do when I fail as a parent? My friend, Dr. Eric Johnson, explains:
The gospel leads me into accepting my parenting where it's at, taking my ongoing sins and failures (and successes) to Christ, and receiving forgiveness for my sins and mistakes as a parent. But I must remember that I am in Christ: his beloved child, righteous, already complete and perfect.
As we parent our children, let's remember that God is parenting us. He's using our parenting experiences to reveal what we really believe about the gospel so he can grow us more deeply in the gospel.