I appreciate smooth, polished logistics. I also value raw unmerited grace. It might seem unnatural but I see them in a powerful relationship.
Who doesn’t appreciate grace extended in their direction – we all need it. And if you think about it even the most unmannerly person is, in one form, asking grace be considered in their situation, yes?
The void of grace in any situation or structure (church, business or family) is an ugly thing. Why? Because when grace is void we are simply trying to live up to the expectations of others. We strive for perfection only to fall miserably short. There it is: the need for grace <insert Jesus>.
So what does extending grace look like in a family? What does it do in your family? What are some of the challenges in extending grace to your kids, your wife, your husband, your neighbor?
My expectation on my spouse and kids to appreciate me.
I recently spent time with a close friend; he spoke of a situation where he built a pretty incredible tree house (Swiss-Family-Robinson-style). He spent tons of time, considerable amount of planning, and a set amount of money on materials. As I talked with him, he alluded to the fact that he found value in doing it and accomplishing something (building). One of the main purposes (obviously) in building the tree house was to provide his kids a place to play, imagine, and explore on their own. In other words, he build the tree house with the anticipation his kids would play in the tree house (more than they currently do). As he observed them NOT playing in the structure he built for them (as much as he thought they would); he realized his kids value time with him over playing in the tree house he built for them. He could have been resentful, felt put-out… but he extends grace. Do I do this? Yes. Do you do this? Maybe…? He makes time for them, as much as he can with his kids DOING things. What he shared was a great picture of extending grace to children.
How can we relate?
I could relate to my friend. Oh, how I could relate! My expectation on my spouse and kids to appreciate me. My work, picking up the house, time I sacrifice, sleep I go without, the ministry I do, the relationships I pour into, the gift I just bought for them, the money I make….
What happens here, in THIS mindset, we find ourselves focusing on being appreciated more than serving. Logistics break down. Communication can easily get “snappy”. Voices raise one more notch.
I have been shown elaborate grace from so many people. My wife, my kids, my friends, colleagues (past and present). Detailed calendars and schedules, organized kids clothes, Tupperware drawers, and time budgets are well and good – albeit they’re needed…. they all pale in comparison to the effectiveness of elaborate grace when it comes to creating good logistics in a family.