My daughter is a little sinner. Don’t get me wrong, she’s very sweet, she loves deeply, she is discerning, and looks for ways to be kind to people, but there’s no way around her sinful nature. Like the rest of us humans, she isn’t perfect. So why do I take it so personally when she messes up? Why do I assume that her sin looks bad on me? It’s bad enough that my own sin is an embarrassment, why does her sin have to be an indictment on me as well?
In my old age, I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding my sinfulness, pretty good at making light of it, or applying the soothing balm of grace to myself, thanking God that he forgives me hundreds of times a day for my failures. But when my daughter acts in a way that is more selfish than loving, the first thing I want to do is to fix her. And that makes sense, we have to teach our kids right and wrong, but when my motivation is saving face, or proving to my friends that I won’t allow for any of that sin business in my household, I sense that I’m not so much concerned about the state of her soul as I am the state of my reputation. Embarrassment trumps grace when her selfishness sticks out for everyone to see. Forget about my selfishness in not wanting to have a transparent moment where people see that I can’t and won’t perfect my child, I’ve got to discipline the selfish out of her in an attempt to make up for her failure. Ugh. That’s the gospel according to Hayley.
While I do want a child who loves others well, I don’t ever want my reputation to be the energy behind my discipleship of her. In other words, I want to see my child the way God sees her, as a sinner saved by grace. Just as important, I want to see myself as a parent saved by grace, not condemned by the sinful nature of my offspring. My child is a lot like me. She’s prone to teach, correct, lead, to be liberal with advice, be selfish, and speak before she thinks. Her flesh is continually at war with the Spirit and she’s only been on this earth for nine years. So, why again do I take her sins personally when her sins have already been taken by another?