I was checking out at the grocery store the other day and the kid who was working at the cash register was talking to the ladies just before me in line. They were heavily tattooed and he told them that he wanted to be. He explained that he was still living with his parents so he couldn’t get a tatoo but that he would be moving out soon and then there would be nothing that they could do about it except for “anger, anger, anger.”
That’s the law. The law prohibits behaviors but does nothing related to the heart. I’m sure that the parents would have loved it if their son had shared values but what he knew with clarity was the prohibited behaviors. The emotions of his desire and their anticipated anger were all tied to the choices he could and couldn’t make.
Grace releases others to choose and experience. The parents prohibition within the boundaries of their headship is not wrong, but the net result they are looking for will only be accomplished through a heart level realization of their intentions towards their son. That is, he has to know that their “rules” are for his good.
This is no easy task, the balance between order and freedom when stewarding the responsibility of leadership. There is no formula and no perfect way to pull it off. My best interpretation of how to pull it off would be something like “a decreasing control upon evidence of maturity which is constantly dependent on a heart towards the individual best interests of another.” Whatever that means. The plan is great until the first shot is fired, so to speak.
A hug, an encouraging word, affirmation of strengths which calls out purpose are all tools towards relational collateral. Jesus sees the best in us . . . He encourages, affirms and comforts. He sees the things that we choose which are harmful or outside of His best (not to say that tattoos are bad), yet He allows them to unfold with the consistency of a heart for relationship. The consequences are ours to experience . . . not His to control for us.
When we get a fresh glimpse of who He is to us and how He loves us, we are infinitely better equipped to be Christ-like towards others. Glimpses of our own frailty allows for grace in how we deal with others, including our own children.