I’ve been reflecting on the many ways that grace is our ticket to freedom. Here’s another one. Living in the room of grace, we aren’t controlled by our expectations. Not only can we stop trying to manage our sins, we can also stop trying to manage the sins of others.
Grace frees us from the expectations that we place on our relationships. In the room of grace, we don’t say things like, “Listen, in order for you to be my friend, or husband, or wife, I expect you to do certain things and behave a certain way.” And we don’t hear parents saying, “Kids, if you want to be in my good graces, and if you want to live and function and be happy in my home, then these are the things I expect out of you.”
People really struggle under our expectations. They hear our lists of do’s and don’ts and they say, “I can’t live up to all of that.” When we “sin manage” our relationships, we make our loved ones miserable. We can’t perform all the time, and neither can they.
Think about your kids. Your expectations can crush your kids. And what happens? All of a sudden, at 16 or 17 years of age, they rebel and stop talking to you. They stop loving you, because they’ve never been able to make you happy.
I see so strongly the gifts that grace will bring to my boys. My boys are going to mess up. There is no doubt about it. Maybe it will be an accident when they first start driving. You know what? I intend to handle it with grace. I’ll say, “Let me tell you something son. You messed up. You wrecked the car. They said you were speeding when you wrecked it. So you were driving recklessly and you were driving a little crazy, and now you’ve ruined the car.
“But son, guess what? I know how it goes. I got in two wrecks before I was seventeen. One of them happened because I was driving recklessly. The other one happened because I hit some ice. I’ve been where you are right now, and I understand the situation. There are consequences. You’ll have to take responsibility. You’ll have to go to work and save enough money to pay the difference in the car insurance bill. This is how it is when you wreck a car. You have to get another car and the insurance goes up, and you have to pay the bill. This is not a punishment! It’s just what happens when you wreck a car.”
I will never say to one of my sons, “You idiot. How could you be so dumb?” I will not do that! I’ll talk to him. I’ll explain how the world works. He’ll have to take responsibility for his actions. But he will never have to fear me. He’ll never have to think, “Oh my gosh, my Dad’s going to kill me if I get in a wreck.” No, it won’t be like that. There’s grace there. I love my boys, and they will make mistakes, because we all do.
To my mind, that is a free home. And that is how God regards us, living in that room of grace.
More on this next time. See you Monday.