As Pastor Leithart continues his series on parenting in the Spirit, we should take care that we are preparing ourselves rightly. It is perilously easy to hear sermons on family living and parenting and to become discouraged or disillusioned. There are no perfect parents here, and all have fallen short of the glory of God. And children are particularly dear to us; failing in parenting can cut in particularly sharp and painful ways. But God does not call us to obedience and faithfulness as a coercive and tyrannical dictator. God is not harsh and maniacal. He does not call us to faithfulness and then laugh at us when we fall down. God is a faithful and loving Father. And God our Father has loved us with an everlasting love, a love that sent the Son into the world, a love that gave His only begotten Son to bleed and die for the sins of the world, a love poured out for the sins of parents who fail.
There are those parents who hear this good news, are relieved that maybe it’s not as bad as they thought, and then continue to wreck their families and ungratefully despise the gifts of God.
But there are other parents who are truly cut to the heart by their weakness and failings, and who honestly confess their failings and short comings to God. These parents are and will be forgiven. And this forgiveness is not mere relief, though it is absolutely freeing. This forgiveness rejoices in the grace of God. This forgiven parent knows that walking in the Spirit and parenting in the Spirit is a bit like walking a tight rope over the Grand Canyon.
But faith believes the promises of God. Faith looks to Jesus and to the loving Father who raised Him from the dead. And when this same God says that the promise of forgiveness is for you and for your children, your job is to believe this. Believe it because Jesus is alive. Believe it because Christ is risen. Believe that there is grace for you. And know that you can only walk in the Spirit as you are standing in the grace of forgiveness.