Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead a snot into temptation..."
What? Yep... as a child, that's how Lynn, a friend of mine, prayed the Lord's prayer. In a way it makes a little sense, right? Go ahead God! Let those snots have it!
Our sense of fairness and justice is satisfied when the bad guys get caught and are punished.
Our kids don't have much problem figuring out the fairness factor. That tends to make sense. But the ideas of grace and mercy are much more difficult to comprehend and extend.
Grace and mercy. Unmerited favor, freely given combined with compassion and kindness. For example, if you (by you I really mean me) deserve a speeding ticket but get a warning instead...that is mercy. (I just got some of that mercy recently.) Or if one of my kids takes care of my typical morning routine of feeding the dog and unloading the dishwasher, I just got graced!
So..how do we help our children learn and embrace the concepts of grace and mercy? What does it look like in a family?
Talk about it and show it.
Grace is proactive. Showing favor-even when it isn't earned. Loving your child when he's a little snotty. Mercy responds to an offense a child committed with training rather than punishment. Rather than grounding him for life, have him restate his concern with respect.
Of course it's important to balance grace and mercy with fairness and justice. Without justice, we can end up with cheap grace.
Avoid tipping the scales to one side or the other.
And..as a family pray for that "snot"and show him a little amazing grace!
"But deliver us from evil.
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever."
NOTE: I took this photo in Jerusalem at the Church of the Nations on the Mount of Olives. The church has the Lord's Prayer written in 170 languages! Here it is written in Ethiopian.