Parenting: Law vs. Grace. Which is Right?

For the most part, our sense of morality comes from our religion, or you could say our belief system. In general, for the western civilization the historical source for morality comes from the law given to Moses by God and the philosophy of grace, which comes from Jesus in the New Testament.

Christianity teaches grace. No other religion does that. Yet, even Christians need to obey the law. So how do you decide when to punish your child and when to allow grace?

Trying to develop a parenting strategy based on those two concepts can lead to confusion. Remember the good law protects us. So teach your children to stay away from fire and not cross the street alone to protect them. If they disobey, make the consequences severe enough to prevent any re-occurrence. Along with consequences give them love and teaching about the dangers of what they did. In those situations, law trumps grace.

On the other hand, children disobey by actions that don’t cause immediate harm, such as back talk, unkindness to a friend, or refusal to clean their rooms. In that kind of situation, don’t miss an occasional opportunity to show grace.

You can say something like this, “You have disobeyed me by your back talk. The way you talked to me showed disrespect. I should punish you, but this time I won’t. I will give you grace. Grace is a gift we don’t deserve. Even though you deserve to be in time out, I will give you love instead. Jesus does that. He took the punishment we deserve and gave us love and forgiveness. Next time it happens, you will go to time out. This time I am helping you understand more about Jesus.”

4 thoughts on “Parenting: Law vs. Grace. Which is Right?

  1. Agreed. Sometimes as an sexual abuse survivor, I find that one of my coping mechanisms (anger) clouds my judgment sometimes. As I continue to heal, process my anger with the Lord, and listen to the Holy Spirit–my capability to do like you wrote becomes more routine. I’m thankful that God redeems ALL things. 🙂


    • Thank you for your response. Yes, being a survivor clouds so many parts of life, but you are right, God does redeem all things. His grace is sufficient if even we don’t feel it in the moment. I hope you are or have already received godly counseling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I have. 🙂 Godly counsel–both formal an informal–has made all the difference in so many aspects, but especially my marriage and my parenting. Currently, I am blogging about my healing journey and co-facilitating a Bible study for other survivors in our church and community.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.