Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Dance Between Grace and Mercy and Justice and Wrath

Raising four children is a difficult thing, especially if you are a Christian and want your children to have a deep and saving faith. There are pitfalls and teaching moments along the way:
Perhaps this harshness and sternness derive from a desire, albeit well-intentioned, to control. Christian parents, and I readily identify with this since I am one, desperately want their children to be at peace with themselves and at peace with their world, and they know that such peace will only come when they are at peace with God. They want to, in the words of Jonathan Edwards to his daughter, meet there at last in heaven as a family. And this desire can be strong, so strong that it morphs into something precariously close to ugliness. I'll drive it into them, and it will be for their own good, becomes the impulse. This inclination towards sternness, towards doling out justice over grace, is inched along as a reaction to the cultural pressures of an acceptance-no-matter-what value. Christian parents should be able to fret over their teenager's sexual activity. Christian parents do believe that actions have consequences and that some actions shouldn't be overlooked. Nevertheless, sometimes the sternness overtakes otherwise good intentions. No doubt, this gets complicated. Only God has mastered the dance between grace and mercy and justice and wrath. All we can do is strive to approximate it.
From Apostasy Lit: Why Do They Leave? by Stephen Nichols

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