As parents, we are trying our best. My husband and I are passionate about parenting, and we really want to raise up our children in ways that are right. We care deeply about them and want them to grow up loving God and therefore loving others. We want the best for their lives. All that said, we have to acknowledge that they are not robots. They have free will and are going to make choices on their own. Part of this terrifies me…a lot of it does, actually. I’m scared that we’re going to try so hard and yet they may turn from God or turn down a path that leads to huge negative consequences. Yes, as they error we can always and should always reflect on our parenting to see if there are things we did to lead them down the wrong path. We can adjust as needed to help them or their siblings make better choices. However, when it boils down to it, they are human. They are sinful, just like us. They may make bad choices that lead to certain consequences, but it comes down to the choices they made. We may be doing everything we can to do the best jobs we can, and you may look at your child’s decisions thinking, where did I go so wrong? That contemplation can be useful, but in the end you also need to let go of your grip and understand that some choices are out of your hands. Your children have free will, and we need to continue to love them through the choices they make. God gives us more grace then we ever deserve. The Bible teaches about God’s ultimate grace.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:49
If you believe in Jesus, you have experienced this grace. We, therefore, need to walk in grace with our children. Yes, there will be consequences – sometimes natural and sometimes handed down from you. Ultimately, you want to reflect the grace you have received from God. You will be saddened and disappointed with some of the decisions your children make. They may be bigger than you ever imagined. Please remember the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Please give yourself some grace. Please learn how to best guide your beloved children as they’ve made wrong choices. Help them to lovingly guide them to a path of repentance. Remember that your child has free will, and this will lead to wrong choices despite your heart for them.