A Measure of Mercy

God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
Romans 11:32

I (JCD) was invited to speak at a church service many years ago, and I made two big mistakes. First, I decided to speak on the discipline of children. Second, I brought my kids to the church with me. I should have known better.

After delivering my witty, charming, and informative message, I stood at the front of the sanctuary answering questions from a group of about twenty-five parents. As I dispensed further wisdom, we all heard a crash in the balcony. I looked up in horror to see nine-year-old Danae chasing five-year-old Ryan over the seats, giggling and stumbling and running through the upper deck. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. How could I go on telling the mother in front of me how to manage her children when mine were tearing down the church?

At frustrating times like these, I urge you to show a measure of mercy to your rambunctious little ones. No matter how hard you strive to implement a flawless system of discipline in your family, there will be times when it breaks down. Children willbe children. If the Father of creation can grant mercy to His disobedient children (Romans 11:30–32), we can do the same to ours.

Before you say good night…

  • Do you ever expect more from your children than you should?
  • Are you merciful toward your kids even as you discipline them?
  • Are you most concerned about your image or your kids’ character?

Father, as we raise our daughters and sons, remind us that You are the author of their childish ways. As we teach them, lead us to attitudes of patience, understanding, and mercy. Thank You for our kids! Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.