Parenting is a funny thing…until you hit a day when it’s not funny at all. Often that’s a day when your child really messes up. Messing up can mean problems at school, fights with a sibling or even just blatant disrespect. On these gloomy days, typical parental thoughts sound like “How could they do such a thing?” or “They should know better.” Or even “Why do they keep doing the same thing over and over again?” Regardless of the situation, I believe the more serious the mess, the more likely parents think, “What did I do wrong?”
As parents, we are fallible and make mistakes, and at times this “What did I do wrong?” question prevents us from understanding a great truth about parenting: kids are suppose to mess up and we, as parents, are suppose to catch them. Too often parents get caught up in the idea that being a good parent is about having kids that don’t have problems. So when they do, we think we’ve failed. I know. I’ve felt the same way. But when we put the guilt aside we can see that good parents are parents that catch their kids doing wrong, correct them and then forgive them.
Of course, messing up is not reserved only for children. As adults we are also pretty good at messing up. The good news is that just as you know that your children will one day mess up, God knows you will mess up too. Some Christians seem to forget this. They get stuck in a HUGE misconception that a good Christian never does anything wrong. The truth is that the Christian walk is not one where we start on God’s path and never step off. The true Christian walk is turning back towards God each time we go astray. When you have wandered off God’s path, He hungers for you to turn back towards Him and receive His forgiveness. He doesn’t ask why you keep doing the same thing or what you were thinking. He knows. And God’s not worried about what you did wrong. He’s just concerned about making you right. That’s why He sent Jesus.
John 3:17 says that God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. Too many Christians are living in anticipation of God’s condemnation when ever they go off His path. Do you carry the burden of thinking that if you disappointed God, He will turn away from you? That’s just not true. We are not meant to live as children waiting for God’s punishment!
As a believer, you are God’s cherished child to whom He gave His very life. God knows there will be times in your life that you will need to be disciplined but this will not threaten your salvation. Salvation is a gift. A gift that can’t be earned through good behavior nor can it be unearned through bad. That’s how much God loves you.
Messing up is part of life but thankfully so is the outrageous mercy of our heavenly father. See God as the loving and forgiving parent you’ve always wanted because, my friend, He is all that and so much more.