Most nights when I come home from work, I immediately get tackled by my 4-year-old and my 2-year-old as soon I walk through the door. I’ve learned to wait and stare at the front door and prepare myself for the next 10 minutes of chaos. Once that door is opened, I’m greeted with shouts of joy from what seems like a heard of hippos running right towards me.
When I came home a few nights ago, I went through the same routine. The only different thing was that the chaos didn’t stop after 10 minutes; it continued throughout the entire night.
Dinner was loud. Bath time was difficult. And bedtime was near impossible.
The night consisted of us constantly saying, and by saying I mean yelling, things like, “No! Don’t climb on the back of the couch.” and “Stop! You cannot push your sister’s head under the water. She can’t breathe underwater.” and “Your lives would be so much easier if you would just listen to your mother and me.”
After my wife and I FINALLY got the kids to lay down in bed, I heard them ask: “Can we have a dessert?” I tried not to laugh while I said “Yeah… Right!”.
I went downstairs to escape for the night. We plopped down on the couch to stare blankly at some television show; feeling completely defeated. For the next hour, those were the plans. At least that’s what I thought.
My wife sat up and asked me a question: “Do you think we were too hard on them tonight?” My response, without even thinking about what I was actually saying was this: “Of course not. They should know better by now. I don’t understand! They just won’t learn and they think they deserve a dessert? They don’t deserve anything, especially dessert.”
Immediately, almost as I was saying those words, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I didn’t even look at my wife after those words came spewing out of my mouth. I can only imagine what her face looked like when I exploded with that little rant.
They don’t deserve ANYTHING? Really?!
Right then, God decided to teach me a little be about Grace. He immediately reminded me of this video by The Skit Guys. The conversation Jesus had with Peter after Jesus came back from the dead. (John 21:12-17)
Grace is God’s unmerited favor for us.
No matter how many times we prove that we don’t deserve grace, God gives it to us anyway; unconditionally. Peter had a front-row seat to this lesson after Jesus came back from the grave.
I sometimes wonder how many times God has told me what I told my kids the other night. Not the couch thing or the pushing your sister’s head underwater thing, but: “Your life would be so much easier if you would just listen to me.”
My guess is that He has tried to tell us something similar to that many times before. And yet, we still don’t learn. So, we find ourselves constantly in need of the GRACE that God has offered to us as a free gift again and again.
We screw up every single day. We do the same dumb things, make the same idiotic choices and commit the same blockheaded sins day after day after day. Yet, day after day after day, God gives us His grace and forgiveness.
He gives us what we need. He gives us what we want. He gives us what we deserve. He gives us what we don’t deserve. That’s grace.
God gives us the dessert we want; even after a long, difficult day of not listening and when we don’t really deserve it.
I find myself having to constantly and consciously make the decision to give my kids the same grace that God gives me without a second thought. I don’t try to hide behind the excuse that I’m not a perfect person so I can’t be a perfect father anymore. I am working closer towards sanctification every day and I will only get there with the help of my God.
What about you? Is there someone in your life that you need to make the decision to give grace to?
Peace and Grace