Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Give Them Grace - a Book Study

In July, I posted about my most recent book goal and . .. this book was not in it.  I came across this book just a few weeks ago and it really struck me as something I was looking for concerning my kids.  I want my kids to grow and know the love of God but struggle daily with how to make this a lifestyle for them and not just words.  The author does not mince words at all when it comes to how we share Jesus with our kids.  One of the first quotes that kind of hit me square in the face was this, "Lets face it, most of our children believe that God is happy if they're 'good for goodness sake'. . . . We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith. "   I read this not long after I said to one of my kids, "I need you to stop disobeying and be good" I mean, what is "good" anyway? 

Chapter 1 - From Sinai to Calvary
One of the first truths this book brings out is the fact that too often we use the Bible as a rule book instead of a book of "Good News".  We are quick to list the do's and don'ts in the Bible but what about actually teaching the truths of the stories given and learning to understand why God thought each of those events was important enough to share.  I was reminded that in order to really use the gospel in my parenting, I have to know the gospel and love it myself.  Ok, I'll raise my hand now and say I'm guilty.  I don't put the Bible first in my day, in my week or sometimes even in my month!  How can I teach my kids the in's and out's if I don't know it myself?  I'm working on that both through starting personal Bible Study (again) as well as through Daily Bible lessons in our preschool which will start soon. The author shared 4 areas of obedience to help the reader understand where this idea of "grace" comes into the picture.  First, Initial Obedience is basically teaching your child to heed your voice (you know, when you say "no" you mean it or, when you call them, they come - in order to keep them safe!)  Second, Social Obedience which is learning basic manners.  We all want our children have good manners :-)  Third, Civic Obedience which is basically teaching them to obey the law.  Forth, Religious Obedience which is ". . .what we teach our children to do as part of a life of faith before them come to faith." An example would be praying before dinner or standing up in church to sing songs - these are just exercises in faith, not a saving faith. "Religious obedience is probably the most difficult and dangerous form of obedience simply because it is so easily confused with conformity to God's Law."  For me, what I gleaned from this chapter was to figure out how to instruct my children in such a way that they don't just learn the "law" - obey because God said so; but rather learn the Gospel - to understand that Jesus gave up all he had - all of his "goodness" and came to earth to live among sinners to teach them.  He gave the ultimate sacrifice for each of us.  In my heart, I want my children to learn to live the Bible, not just know the right answers.  I want the Bible to the reason they do what they do; not have it become a burden.  I know that this concept alone will impact how I teach Bible to my children. 

There are, already, two things that I've soured this book to me just slightly.  One, the author writes in an over top fashion - using, sometimes, difficult explanations and wording to get a point across.  It is written as a counselor would write (which is what she is) but not written as the average parent would read.  Two, she seems to be slamming one particular religion, which I won't state, but twice she has said negative things about parents who are in that group as a whole.  I was really taken aback by it - I firmly believe that Bible is God's one true word but you don't influence others by attacking what they believe either.  As with any book, when you reading it, take it one chapter at a time and look for the truth

If you've followed my "way" of reading, you know that I often read multiple books at once and plan to share what I learn, if it is worth sharing.  With that said, not all of my "Book Study" posts will pertain to the same book.  :-) 

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