As a Crossing Kids volunteer and mother of two toddlers, I am learning firsthand the joys and hardships that come along with a growing and developing child. After reading Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson this past summer with our Crossing Kids Interns, I was able to better connect the message of the Gospel with raising and working with children through a grace-centered approach. I would like to share with you some applicable truths that have begun to transform my heart towards children.
- We are all sinners in need of a Savior. No one is perfect at keeping the ‘law,’ especially a developing child trying to navigate a broken world. The only perfect record-keeper was Jesus Christ. None of us are ‘good’ and Give them Grace frankly states, “Our children aren’t innately good, and we shouldn’t tell them that they are. But they are loved and if they truly believe that, his love will transform them.”
- Don’t confuse outward obedience with Christian righteousness. We would be missing the point of the Gospel if all we cared about was how children acted on the outside. We would never want our kids to think that their works would lead to salvation. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone. No amount of goodness can lead to salvation.
- The ‘good’ children (who always follow the rules and want to people-please) can actually be the ones who need to hear the message of the Gospel more than the rule-breaking children. They may often struggle with pride, judging, and false idols. Their self-reliance may hinder them from not seeing their need for Jesus. Whereas the ‘bad’ children (who struggle openly with sin, temptations, and often identity issues), may be able to more easily see God’s grace and forgiveness during hard times and rest in the hope that He wants to give. After all, Jesus loved being around these types of people most.
- Salvation is of the Lord. Let us rest in the beautiful gift that our children’s salvation is not up to us and our ‘works’ with them. It isn’t about what we do right or wrong during our interactions. Let us rejoice in this burden being lifted. However, know that by serving in Crossing Kids, you are making yourself available for God to use you as a means to show children grace, forgiveness, and understanding.
As I close, I do want to acknowledge that rules/law are pivotal in children’s lives. To ignore instruction, training and discipline would be irresponsible and apathetic. Giving grace to children involves keeping order and sanity in the Crossing Kids hallways, but by readjusting your perspective to a more gospel-centered approach, it can help show children (and all of us adults too!) more about God’s unwavering, grace-filled love for those who believe in Him.