I’d known him since birth. 14 years of watching his reactions both to praise and to discipline had helped me decide the best way to guide and direct him to become the man that God had planned for him to be from the foundation of the world.
My husband and I had always believed in teaching this mild-mannered, deeply-caring individual the priority of obedience to authority and respect for his elders. Homeschooling our children for a time allowed us this focus. Obedience has always been stressed in raising each of our children because we firmly believe it sets the foundation for walking in obedience to God.
Yet, it took a legalistic Christian high school all of 3 months to convince him he was a bad kid. And he must have been because what good kid would allow himself to be caught in the hall with his shirt untucked from his pants or chew gum in class? Of course he deserved a full Saturday’s detention cleaning the school and paying ten dollars for the privilege of doing so. I mean his brazen defiance of these basic, fundamental rules must be punished, no?
I learned something years ago that has helped me immensely in raising boys. They are not horses and parents, especially mothers, should not start their training by breaking them first. I have tried my hardest to say yes to them as often as possible. If it wasn’t immoral, illegal or possibly deadly, I said yes. I believe boys who become real, Godly men need this type of freedom and grace to grow and mature.
There is a simple but important saying that this school would have done well to have known.
Rules are meant to guide and protect, not to oppress and control.
It’s the same with us as children of God and it is how He chooses to grow and mature us in His son. I’ve spent extended time in Galatians lately soaking up His truths. It is my sincere desire to live my freedom in Christ to His glory, never as an excuse for sin.
My humble explanation of this would be that once we are born-again through faith, we become children of His grace. Continuing to live under the law means I’m focusing on a list of things I should not do… yet as I keep my eyes on these Do Not’s I can’t help but do them.
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law. Galatians 3:10
Living under grace means I’ve been set free from the burden of the law. I now live and breathe through the Spirit by faith. Daily my faith should be expressing itself through love, love for God and others. I am given a list of things, amazing, wonderful things I can live out like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22) This is the list we should focus our eyes on.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Living our life by faith through the spirit is never about what we can’t do but what we can.
Our son finished the remaining three years at a Christian high school that is grace-filled and loving. He grew into quite a Godly man. He graduated at the top of his class, a youth leader in church yet believe it or not I still catch him now and again daring to walk around with his shirt untucked.