Recently I met with a friend who shared with me how she was struggling with her faith. Unfortunately the people representing Christ in her home had a less than stellar track record. Before I go on let me say that no home will pass the test of perfection. We all truly do fall short of the glory of God. However, contradictions of what we say and how we live should not be the prevailing theme in the home of a professed believer.
I grew up in a home where the only time you heard mention of God was if His name were attached to a curse word. Contradiction was the norm at my house where my dad would often say things like "do as I say, not as I do" to justify himself. I can remember growing up a very confused and angry child because it was obvious to me, that there were major inconsistencies in placing burdens on our backs that he himself was not willing to carry. (Luke 11:46) To me they were just a tool with which my dad could have power over me. Now my disobedience aside, there was not a lot of grace and very seldom an explanation for why my dad treated me the way he did.
The rooms of the believers home should be overflowing with the river of grace! There should not only be times when punishment is given for flat out rebellion, (which is God's mercy on children showing them that there are consequences) but grace given for accidents and mistakes. I once heard a story of a young boy who turned away from his grandmother when he thought she had finished serving spaghetti on his plate, causing her to drop an entire fork full on the ground. She remarked with anger in her voice "look what you done stupid" The family has learned to laugh about this incident now, but that must have been a very hurtful statement coming from someone whom you love.
The friend that I recently met with communicated to me that she didn't understand grace. Not in the sense of what it is, but more what it looks like lived out. This most likely came from a very legalistic upbringing where the Sermon on the Mount was taught as a set of rules instead of the demands of God which are only satisfied in the blood of Christ. So many people have confused the law of God for something that we need to do so that God will accept us. Instead of seeing it for what it is, a way for God to show us our true state. Remember the song “Amazing grace”? “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear”. Through the law we see our sinful state, but if we stop there our condition is utterly hopeless. If we read the next part of that verse though we see the gospel! “Twas grace my fears relieved” Jesus fulfilled that which we could not... the law. (Mathew 5:17) Became that which He was not...sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) And made a way for us to be something we could never be... acceptable to God. (Philippians 3:10)