Thursday, July 17, 2014
Grace and Parenting
"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Proverbs 1: 8-9 KJV
Adults should keep in mind that they have an opportunity to impart grace to children through discipline. The book of Proverbs is a collection of ideas and teachings about what wisdom is, and about how we can obtain it. It is a rather easy book to read, and often only one or two verses will provide a basis for prayerful meditation. The verses quoted above are a good example of this. The instruction and teaching of parents, which is the way that we are to discipline children, are compared to beautiful adornments on the son (or children).
Obedience leads to wisdom, and the reason that we seek wisdom is because it gives us beauty. 1 Peter 3: 3-4 NASB touches upon the idea of outward beauty as a metaphor for inward beauty. It says: Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
One of the many English definitions of the verb form of the word grace is to impart beauty, and this is the sense that grace is used in Proverbs 1:9. There are many legends of ugly girls becoming beautiful women, and the gist of the stories center around the idea that outward beauty is a reflection of inward beauty. One story relates how a man married the ugliest girl in the village, and took her away with him for a year. When he returned to the village, he brought another woman with him who was more beautiful than any other woman in the village. However, upon close examination, it was discovered that she actually was the same ugly girl, now transformed into beauty by love of the man. God does this for us. He loved us so much that His love transforms our ugly sin-filled lives into objects of grace. And when we teach and discipline our children, our love imparts grace into them.