© November 7, 2018 | Schulter Etyang
Yesterday, I wrote a post advising your parents to view you through the lens of grace because you are a sinner. I’m hoping that by doing so, they’ll go easy on you, a tad easy. It’s not your fault you are a sinner. It’s Adam’s fault – Adam, the progenitor of humanity. We are in this mess because of him and his wife, Eve.
You are a sinner and you sin. You do you. Your parents, however, don’t get it. I alluded in yesterday’s post that they are dumbfounded, paralyzed, angry, and harsh towards you because they underestimate the strength of sin, and most forget they are sinners.
This post though is for you. And by you, I mean all of us. We all are kids. Most of us still have our parents around. Some, though, their parents have died yet have hangovers from their upbringing.
Kid, you need to realize your parents are sinners as sinners can be. I‘m sure you know this. Your Christian, bible believing, Church going, tongue talking, demon casting, worship singing, cell group leading, and prayer before bedtime parents are sinners too.
How does this play out? Your Christian parents are contradictions in broad daylight. They say one thing and do another. They’ve done things behind your back that if exposed would make them lose your respect. As you grow in your house, the discrepancies will be clearer and hard to hide. You will bite your tongue often because you will see things, but honour for your parents will hold you back.
You will be angry and confused when your parents say one thing and act differently. Your mother will demand that you be prayerful, but her prayer life will be nonexistent. Your parents will tell you to go to Church often, but most times you will notice they go because they have to, not because they want to. Behind the scenes, they sigh with frustration because they have to keep up the facade. Even when they go to Church, they criticise everyone and everything that happens there. The “roll your eyes”, and “hand in the head” emoji will be your go-to emoji. Your parents will preach to you, and the song by Madonna, Papa Don’t Preach, will ring in your head (As if you know this song. Such an old song)
Your Christian dad will hesitate to make important decisions. Most times he will be passive. Your powerful Christian mom will belittle him, subtly, or even openly. The alternative will be true. Your father will be the macho-domineering and the super spiritual dude who will control your lives. Your mother will be the weak, yes-men type. You will see it for what it is.
In terms of your upbringing, your parents prefer to do it differently, but they underestimate the power of sin. They have a high regard for their parenting skills and low regard for sin. So what’s happening is, they are so shocked by the sin in your life because it’s a replica of what they saw in their families. So they believe that to beat the pattern, they need you to be more spiritual, attend church always, be prayerful, etc. Yet, you know very well it won’t work. The yelling, screaming, manipulation, and guilt-inducing words are indicative of their broken dreams, but more so the misguided notion you are perfect.
Life happens, unfortunately. You or your friends will witness the breakdown of your parent’s marriage. Your model Christian parents will get a divorce. You, then, will question everything they’ve preached to you on marriage. The fallout will be much harder to bear if you are in your teens and even adulthood. If you don’t understand grace or were never exposed to grace, like your parents, you will be dumbfounded, paralyzed, angry, and bitter.
So what’s influencing them? What’s behind this contradiction, which you call hypocrisy? It is SIN. Your parents, just like you, are sinners. The unfortunate thing is your parents will not admit they are because their Christian upbringing doesn’t allow them to admit they are sinners. It demands they be perfect. You may never get an apology from your parents when they are wrong because they are conditioned to never admit to brokenness and weakness.
You will need to understand what grace is and how it works. What is grace? Grace is receiving from God what you don’t deserve. Where you’d have received punishment for the sinner you are, and the sins you do (what you deserve), Jesus dove in, took your punishment and God gave you grace (what you don’t deserve).
You‘ll have to give your parents the same grace you’ve received from God – give them what they don’t deserve, time and time again. You will give them grace until they die. They will need grace until they die.
So imagine a home where members of your family give each other grace. How would your family be? We can only build castles in the air at this point. Paul, a writer of the New Testament book of Galatians, gives us a glimpse of what happens, when divine grace, is at work. Divine grace produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) This is the ideal. Your family should look like this.
I hope you‘ll understand and live in the rich veins of grace. I hope you‘ll get a church (The Life Place wink, wink… coming soon) that will teach you how grace works so you don’t lose sight of who you truly are, who your parents are, and most importantly, what Jesus has done for you. Grace will be your only rescue from cynicism and despair. I hope grace colors your world.
That’s what grace looks like.