There were two things that my father hated—two things that he would not tolerate in our house: Raising our voices or being disrespectful to our mother, and not telling the truth.
The first of these taught me how to respect and love my mom. As a result my kids knew never to use any other tone than one of respect and love towards their mom as well.
In regards to the second one, I knew that if I did something wrong, there would be consequences, but if I lied about it afterward, I knew the consequences would be so much greater. But I also knew that no matter what I did, my father still loved me.
That was the beauty of what my father taught me. He demonstrated to me the great love that our Heavenly Father has for us. And I know that although there are consequences for my sin, God’s grace is greater than anything I can do; nothing can separate me from His love. The Bible doesn’t say that grace is easy but that grace is necessary for the knowledge and understanding of this amazing God who loves me and helps me no matter where I am or what I do.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” —Lamentations 3:22-23
When I think back on how I raised my own kids, I see that I was far from perfect. In some respects, I think that I was too harsh on my kids. There are things that I said that I wish I could take back. Things like, “Do you think that God would be pleased with that behavior?” I wasn’t showing them the unconditional grace and love that our Heavenly Father has for us. There have been many times when I have since then gone back to my children to ask their forgiveness for the ways that I may have skewed their view of God.
I wanted my children to know and obey God but I had to realize that it wasn’t my responsibility to make them trust in Him. I was raising my kids the best I knew how, but I myself was struggling to live my life on a performance-based theology at that time, I was projecting that on them.
Because of these mistakes, I now have the opportunity to go back to my kids (now 34 and 31) and make my apologies, sharing with them my experience of God’s grace in my life. We now have open conversations about who Jesus is and how great His love for us is. And now I have the added blessing of loving my three wonderful grandkids. I see this as a second chance and I take every opportunity that I can to show my grandkids God’s love and grace.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.” —Psalm 136:1-2
I know I wasn’t the perfect dad; I’m not proud of a lot of the things I did, but there’s no question that I have always loved my kids unconditionally, though sometimes I didn’t know how best to communicate that. The beauty of it all is we know that through forgiveness, transparency, and grace, we can break the cycle of generational faults.
Dave Dravecky is a regular contributor to The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Dave’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/davedravecky/
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