February 10, 2022

Let’s Be Grace Givers

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A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

If you have kids or grandkids, you know that they can be frustratingly oblivious to the messes they create. My friend Ming shared that one of her biggest pet peeves is having to constantly remind her kids to lean over their bowls when they eat. Ming wants to train them not to waste food or create more work for others through carelessness. She confessed that she tells them this so often, it comes out harshly.

One afternoon, Ming accidentally flipped a full bowl of noodles all over herself and the floor. She immediately thought of how she would have reacted if one of her kids had done the same thing. Ming’s son witnessed the accident and first reacted in surprise, and then checked on his mom to make sure she was okay. It was a tender-hearted response. It made Ming think about how often her daughter was harsh on herself when she made a mistake and harsh on her brother when he made a mistake. Most likely she had learned that from Ming.

It’s painful to realize we’re passing on the worst of our own behaviors to our kids. Just as God offers us grace, we can model giving grace to ourselves and our kids when any of us makes a mistake. Ming decided to be diligent about making her first reaction to accidents or misbehavior a calm one. It’s not too late to teach her daughter that accidents happen, and gentleness is always a better first response than anger.

 

Resource reading: Colossians 3:12-14