The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 1 CORINTHIANS 16:23
Far too frequently, we hear about the indiscretion of a public figure or religious leader being exposed in some kind of tabloid-style news flash. For a few days, the person's name and all the titillating details are near the top of every news broadcast.
How should Christian parents handle these kinds of reports?
I ask this question because I fear that the way we discuss these things around the dinner table can have longer-lasting implications for our kids than we realize. When we rant about what these individuals have done, judging them with little grace or calling them names and considering them despicable, what does that say to our teenage sons and daughters about what they can expect if they ever need to come to us and confess some secret sin?
Whether we like to think it or not, our children all struggle with sinful desires. They are growing up in a world riddled with promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, pornography, gluttony and dozens of other addictions and seductions.
Even if they never act on all these temptations, their human desires cause them the same difficulties from day to day as ours do.
But if they know that your response to human guilt is abrupt and merciless, what will they likely say to themselves if they mess up badly in the future?
"I could never come clean with Mom and Dad. I could never be real with them about what I'm struggling with."
Your children should know that if they ever fail morally, you will not intervene to spare them from the consequences. But they should also know that no matter how hard they fall, there is always grace in your household. They are always safe in your embrace. They can never slip so far away that your love won't still be there to reach out to them and welcome them home.
Use an example from the recent news to start a healthy discussion of man's failures and God's healing grace. Talk with your children about truth, consequences and God's forgiveness.
Pray that you and your family will be a safe harbor of forgiveness, grace and hope for those who fail.