We're studying "7 Secrets of Successful Families" by Jimmy Evans in our young married class. This second chapter has been rich. It's titled,"A Balance of Grace and Truth." I wish I had read this book years ago, when my own family was young. John 1:14 says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Further, in John 1:17, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Jesus was the perfect balance of grace and truth - the setting of boundaries and the use of loving guidance when the boundaries were violated. Jimmy Evans puts it this way, "A successful family is a playground with a fence around it. A family of truth without grace is like a fence without a playground. A family of grace without truth is like a playground without a fence." He added these equations: Rules + Relationship = Righteousness
Rules - Relationship = Rebellion
Relationship - Rules = Destruction
I don't believe we have to set aside discipline or correction to exhibit love to/for our children. On the other hand, when we set rules and forget the "grace" factor, we tend to be overly stern and rigid. Unfortunately, I think that's where I fit. There's certainly a balance of the two, but it takes a strong, determined, Christ-centered parent to find it and make it a consistent part of family living.
Looking back, I'm thankful that God makes our children so amazingly resilient. While I feel we did many things very, very right as parents, we also failed miserably in some areas. As I watch our son parent his children, I see him continuing some of the things he learned from us. Thankfully, I also see him carving out new paths, being brave enough to set aside the things he thinks weren't effective and incorporating new methods. There's hope!
An imbalance of truth and grace can create disastrous results. I've seen it happen. But we are ever growing and learning - even at 61 years of age. As we become more like Christ, the perfect balance of grace and truth will become more evident in our life and in our relationships with our family.
I recommend the book.