How does the insight from Romans 6:16-18 discussed in the last post relate to parenting?
First a verse:"As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him." (Psalm 103:13)
This verse has massive implications on our view of Scripture and parenting. We spend much time teaching people how to interpret and understand the Bible, often forgetting how our experience will contribute or hinder that process.
In some respect, my children’s ability to perceive the Lord’s compassion rests on their seeing a picture of it in their father. This is a weighty reality that I can hardly bear. I recall thinking to myself a few years ago, “I can’t teach them this. I’m not all that compassionate. How can they understand this verse?!”
Romans 6:16-18 has helped us understand our moral inability. God alone is the one who frees us such that we are able to obey from the heart. This is not our own choosing. HOW does this relate to parenting?
I frequently lack patience with the mistakes of my children that are due simply to their being children, i.e. from their clumsiness, forgetfulness, poor judgment, short attention span,…. Yet, they can hardly change since they are kids. In much regard, they are unable to do anything else. I tend to have too high of expectations for others and myself.
To address this, I must know what the Bible says about sin and what I have learned from experience—I am unable to change my own heart. I have been a slave to sin and my freedom was granted to me as the cost of Christ’s life. I have a far more serious inability. Theirs is typically intellectual or biological. Mine is moral. The weight of this struggle, my fatigue resulting from my moral impotence ought to ground compassion for my kids, whose weaknesses are relatively minor.
As I have wondered how to become more compassionate, it helps to grasps the full measure of compassion shown in the gospel. Christ did not merely overcome a legal problem—my guilt—He overcome my heart.