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Friday, February 15, 2013

But What About Consequences??


What I DESERVE vs. What I HOPE for, can be very different.  Would you WANT a ticket?  Or would you WANT mercy? 
I know for me, I would want mercy!  I have gotten both. :)

In the movie,   Les Miserables, the problem with Jarvet' was that he was a "law follower"; carrying out the letter of the law with no mercy.  He demanded consequences, when he himself  transgressed, because he didn't understand grace or mercy and eventually, it destroyed him.  He was a fear based, consequence based follower!

One of the biggest hurdles to get over, when talking about "Grace Based Parenting", or "BCLC" type parenting, is what about CONSEQUENCES?
Don't they NEED consequences???

I am going to attempt to answer this, but it is both THEOLOGICAL and POSITIONAL.

If I were to ask a Christian, what they deserved because of sin.... They would go to Romans 6:23
"For the Wages of Sin is Death... (what we are deserving of)

But the SECOND half of that same verse says, "But the FREE gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Jesus Christ our Lord!"

What we DESERVE vs. GOD'S MERCY AND GRACE, freely given is an amazing TRUTH in Scripture.  John 3:16 says, "This is the way God chose to show His Love for the World. HE gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have Eternal Life" 
17- For God did not send His son into the World to condemn the world, but that the world through HIM, might be saved.

(the world was already condemned back in Genesis.)

King David, whom God said was a "Man after God's own heart".... a "Righteous man"; was also a sinner.  David committed Adultry with Bathsheba while he was king. Her HONORABLE husband didn't want to dishonor the king by going into his wife while there was a battle, so he slept by David's doorstep.  The King tried to get him drunk.... he still refused, so David, trying to cover up His own sin, sent Uriah to his death in battle by putting him on the front lines.  He then took Bathsheba to be his wife.
The Prophet came to David and told him a story....
"There was a man who had a little sheep.  He loved his lamb and treated it more like a pet.
The rich man, wanted a feast so he came and TOOK the little lamb from the man and had a feast !"

As David listened to the story, he became angry.... "This man is DESERVING of DEATH!"
And the prophet said, "That man is YOU!"  "You took Uriah's wife, and had him killed"!
David was DEVASTATED by the words, and repented before the Lord in sackloth and ashes, asking that the Lord not remove His spirit from upon him and that He would wash him and cleanse him.

(This is one of my favorite worship songs, taken directly from Scripture in Psalms)

David also had many "Natural Consequences" that took place in his life.  Because of his leadership in some areas, he battled his entire life, and His family was a mess.  
But He was STILL a man who passionately wanted to serve the Lord!

As I pour through the scripture, I find case after case where those who are struggling are helped....
by the Lord.  I see the Prostitute, the Blind Man, the Lame Man, and many, MANY more...
All people with personal sin that needed forgiven. 

I see in my OWN life, so many failures and mistakes, sins, wrongs..... But GOD.....
He is FAITHFUL AND JUST to forgive!  My standing before Him is FORGIVEN. 
Why?  Because He sent His SON to take on the SIN of the World.  HE BECAME SIN FOR US... and a Righteous God, poured out His wrath upon His son, Raised Him from the Dead and IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED..... He took MY punishment.

With this in mind..... I will try to answer why we do not use "consequences", and yet our girls are thriving.  We are not raising little monsters who are demanding everything, but respectful and kind girls who love the Lord, and love us. They are not perfect, but neither am I....

I remember when Alli and I were in North Carolina in the hotel.... her confession that she needed to tell me," I have a secret to tell you, I have a really bad side"....I thought to myself.... glad she knows this.   "I have a secret to tell you.... "I have a really bad side too!"  I know I have mentioned this a few times over the last 2 years.... 
(All of our first posts on Miss Alli start in March of 2011)
I told her our bad side is called a "Sin Nature", we all have one. :)

She seemed almost relieved that she was not the only one.  I cannot find the post where I mentioned this first, but it is down there somewhere! (I need a better search engine)
The VERY FIRST thing we want to do with our children is to teach them all about forgiveness.
It is a concept that is misunderstood even in the church.
Forgiveness does NOT give license for the person forgiven to go on doing whatever they want. Forgiveness brings about LIFE CHANGE....
It doesn't happen all at once, but it has happened for EACH of our girls.

The concept of being FORGIVEN....is FREEING. Our burdens are lifted.  The heavy burdens of shame are removed and we are surrounded in unconditional love.

When our children, even our children who have had the hardest hearts, that were doing everything in the world to keep from being vulnerable again, because they didn't want to hurt again, have succumbed to unconditional love.  And they LIKE it!  THEY LOVE IT!  But it was very scary for them at first.

Their lives have CHANGED and so have ours. 
If we can talk to our girls about wrongs when they come up, and they repent, and we forgive, it doesn't make much sense to punish.  Our grace is not cheap, nor is God's.  LOVE COMES WITH SACRIFICE.  We lay down our lives each day.
We also INSTRUCT and TEACH.... as Christ said, "Go and sin no more"......
We can tell our girls after a talk, "Let's do our best not to do that.... instead, let's work on doing this!"
And we give an example.  They are willing to try, even when it is hard.

I HONESTLY do not think we would have the same results if we laid down the law and punished.
Instead, we allow natural consequences to take over.
Society does not tolerate a screaming child in the market.  (Or I should say I don't)  So when they were younger, they knew, unacceptable behavior would lead to an immediate trip home, no matter what stage we were in the market.  It has happened once to EACH of our children except for Miss Erika. :)  There was no punishment or scolding; just a following through on proper behavior.

Instead of punishing a child for talking back, address the talking back and teach them a better way to express themselves.  Sometimes, they just don't GET HOW to communicate.  Remember where your child came from.  Ours came to us, as I have always said, "Potty Trained and Talking Back!"
In Karyn Purvis's book "The Connected Child", chapter 8 addresses the issue of correct communication.  She has a short list of "good words" "bad words" to teach appropriate communication.
Instead of "I hate you!"  "I feel sad or angry".   Instead of "That's not fair!"  "I feel jealous".
etc. Redirecting from inappropriate to appropriate can happen by saying, "That is not ok!"  "Let's try again."  IF you have been practicing and teaching (disciplining/discipling) on appropriate responses, your child will be prepared to respond correctly.

DISCIPLINE IS WHAT YOU LIVE OUT! IT DOESN'T HAPPEN WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG, BUT IT IS CONTINUAL TEACHING WHILE THINGS ARE GOING RIGHT!

Stay away from the bossy "Because I said so's".   Instead, if a child asks why, offer them an answer.
Why not? 
If we are building relationship, they need to be able to trust us, and asking why, is not a bad thing.
I used to tell my boys that I don't mind answering why, but I want you to obey first....
With the girls this has worked  LATER, but not in the beginning. I needed to answer the why and then I had to go the second step and teach them why it is important to obey first, especially because it could be a safety issue.
"Mama will ALWAYS do what is best for you and keep you safe!"  "Trust me!"

So back to the police scenario.... "When your kids grow up, they won't be pampered by the police or job etc."  This is VERY TRUE, and it is something we TELL them and teach to them, giving examples of what COULD happen in the job market, or in general society, preparing them that you might GET that ticket.  And when you do, it will be according to the LAW, and it will be deserved, and you must be respectful and take responsibility.

As they have learned to be responsible at home, this will carry over into society as they get older.
We are to teach the statues and laws of the Lord to our children when they wake up, as we eat, as  we walk together and talk together...and as they go to bed. 
What are those laws?  They are laws on how to honor God and treat mankind.
They can be summed up in 2 commands.  "Love the Lord your God with All your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength, and Love your neighbor as yourself.

In order to love your neighbor as yourself, you have to LOVE yourself!  It isn't the self satisfying love of pride.... it is a healthy love, a right perspective that we have value, because GOD values us.
And then, we teach our children that the golden rule ISN'T do to others what they do to you!  It is NOT and eye for an eye! 
It is, "How do YOU want to be treated?"  Treat others in that way.

I have actually had a girlie tell me one time.... I want you to hit me. :(  This was a long time ago.
I told her, no. I don't want to hit you, I want to hug you.  She sobbed.  Her shame was deeply ingrained.
We have come a LONG ways from those days.  In fact, it was almost 2 years before her heart truly softened.  She sat on my lap one day and said, "Mommy, I want God to take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh". 
She knew what this meant because I shared it with her all the time.
The day came, where she was able to put her guard down, leave her RAD behind and move into GRACE and MERCY.  

Looking back on the last 9 years of our lives has taught me more about LOVE and GRACE than I have ever learned in my entire life, and I'm old. :)

What some do not understand about Grace based parenting, is that you are NOT SPOILING your child by choosing to disciple them.  Disciplining them is TEACHING them all about the ways of life, teaching them about the narrow way that leads to life and the broad road that leads to destruction.
When we love them through their confessions and do not grieve them, or shame them, they GROW.
They grow in relationship to us, and they grow in themselves, learning forgiveness and HOW to forgive! We grow as people and it spills out into other relationships, including our marriages,
work relationships and how we deal with others.  It is a new set of lenses to view the world through.

Forgiveness is PARAMOUNT to healing in the life of the traumatized child.  It is PARAMOUNT to healing in the life of any person.
If you are harboring resentment towards your child, even secretly, it could quite possibly be coming out in your parenting, and your child will pick up on it! 


FORGIVE them and Heal Together. :)


2 comments:

Brooke said...

My son was trying to get his homeschool work done quickly yesterday because he had a friend coming over at lunchtime. So he lied about finishing his math lessons, and began taking his test. When I confronted him with the lie, he ran to his room, very upset. He had been called a liar many times in his former adoptive family, so I knew this was a sore spot. (And thank you for your previous post about lying!) Through gentle conversation, he came to the point of genuine heart-felt repentence. He was so afraid that I would punish him by telling his new friend not to come over. I said that I wanted him to learn the importance of truthfulness, and cancelling the visit was not how I was going to teach him that. I did require him to finish the math test, and he will be doing the pages he skipped on the weekend, but I did not punish him for the lie.
During our conversation he was able to articulate that people lie out of fear, pride, and hedonism, or some combination of those three. He said he lied out of wanting what he wanted, when he wanted it, and after the words came out, he was too afraid to tell the truth.
He began to understand that the most valuable lessons learned in math, are lessons of character: integrity, responsibility, perseverence....

The conversation took a lot longer than it would have taken to punish him, but his heart changed during the process of talking through the issue. Our goal as parents of an adopted child who had RAD, is to heal his heart.

Christie Minich said...

Brooke, that is just awesome!
Alli too has major issues with being accused of lying.
She was accused MUCH in the past.
It sounds like y'all made a REAL connection! This brings about relationship that heals the heart.
Powerful testimony! And the repentance is there!

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