–Originally published on FWB21 February 28, 2012–
I have often struggled with exactly how to find balance as a parent when it comes to administering discipline and bestowing grace. Oftentimes I lean much too heavily on one side or the other.

I’m currently reading Sally Clarkson’s book The Ministry of Motherhood, and the study and discussion questions at the end of the chapter on the Gift of Grace were particularly encouraging and challenging to me. They offer no concrete answers for my struggle to find balance, but they do offer good principles for meditation as I seek God’s wisdom in this area. Since they are based on scripture and do not necessarily need the context of the book, I thought I’d share them with you here. (Dear mommas, get a copy of this book today! It’s excellent!)

1. Read Romans 2:4. According to this verse, what leads us to repent? How specifically does God want you to extend his grace to your children so that his kindness, through you, will lead them to repentance?

2. Read Mark 14:66-72 and then 1 Peter 4:8. Knowing that Christ gave Peter grace after he failed so miserably, how would he have you extend this kind of grace to your own children? What would this look like in your daily interactions?

3. The last night Jesus had with his disciples, he called them “little children” (John 13:33). Does this tell you anything about his attitude toward these grown men who were his most devoted followers? Read John 14:1 and see what his continued response was to Peter after he had confronted him with the fact that he would deny Christ. How does this show the loving grace that Jesus extended to his disciples? How does he want you to extend it to your children?

4. The Bible makes it clear that we are to discipline and correct our children when they do wrong. How do you do this faithfully while still giving them the gift of grace?

5. Write down what tends to irritate you about each of your children and sometimes keeps you from showing God’s gracious love. Pray for each child he has given into your hands and make a plan for how you will respond more graciously to him or her, especially in those irritating situations.