There are two kinds of parents: grace parents, and truth parents.

You know grace parents…they’re always kind.  They bake cookies or always have time to turn on the barbecue to make dinner for all your friends. If you push them on an issue like bonus allowance or getting that extra 30 minutes of TV time, they’ll usually bend. If they have something difficult to say, well, they might not say it at all, and if they do, they might speak it so gently you hardly heard the issue when it was finally raised.  They smile alot.  They are always, so, well, nice.

Then there are truth parents….they believe facts are facts and rules and rules. If bed time is 7:30, it’s 7:30 – why would you even ask for an extension? And the kids (especially teens) should fully understand everything the Bible says because obedience matters.  The truth may not be pretty, but someone needs to stand up for it,  say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.  Jesus said if you love God, you’ll obey him.  So obey.

Who are you?  Chances are you’re already seeing yourself moving toward one side or another. I tend to be a truth person…sometimes I can be a bit blunt and unbending because, well, the truth matters.

So who’s right?  Who’s got the monopoly on this one?  The stakes are high, because when it comes to parenting, we’re shaping a generation – true?

Well, what if neither is right?

Years ago I came across this verse that challenged me to my core.  It says in John 1:14 that Jesus came ‘full of grace and truth’.  Did you catch that?  Grace and truth. Not grace or truth.  But both.  Together.  Grace and truth.

Think about this:

  • What if every time you wanted to communicate grace you stopped first to ensure that what you were about to say or do was fully in line with what is true?
  • What if every time you wanted to communicate truth you stopped first to ensure that you were going to communicate it in a way that was grace-filled?

Never grace without truth.  Never truth without grace.  How would that impact the quality of your family life?

White lies might disappear forever.  Harder conversations might happen, but they might lead to more breakthroughs because they were communicated in a way that let your kids know you were fighting for them, not with them.  Do you think it might win the heart of your family? Truth might be more appealing because love is always compelling,  and love would be more powerful because sweetness alone eventually stops resonating when it’s misaligned. (Simply being nice is not actually love anyway.)

I feel like should have this principle taped to my glasses so it’s constantly before me.   I need it so badly.  Jesus lived this one out.  He never spoke the truth apart from grace, and never spoke grace that was unaligned with truth.  I love that.

So here’s the challenge this week:  as you interact in your family:

  • Speak the truth with grace
  • Speak grace with truth.

Just don’t separate them.   For me, this means I sometimes have to cool off before speaking because in the heat of the moment, there’s no grace where this truth is coming from.  And when I’m tempted to simply be nice in a way that’s void of truth, I’ll also pause and reframe.

So…you in?  Want to try it for a week?  No truth without grace.  No grace without truth.

How do you think this might change your pattern at home?