Friday, May 31, 2013


 For a parent, sometimes looking at our children can be like looking in a mirror. There are some moments when a glance in this mirror can bring amazed joy, and other moments, an ashamed ache. In many ways children reflect both what is lovely and what is ugly in the original and, when we're watching with careful honesty, we're sure to see moments when the reflection shares uncanny resemblance to ourselves.

 Sometimes the the resemblance brings a joy and humility that encourages, that reflects the grace upon grace poured into our home. We hear child voices speaking with kindness to a brother or sister, we see in them a gentleness, a servant-heartedness, and we’re amazed. We watch them love their neighbour with a selfless maturity beyond their years, and the good we see reflected in them is humbling.

Reflected grace is just that: it is grace. 

Such glimpses of beauty are as humbling as they are encouraging. The parent reflects the Father and the child reflects the parent and the only right response is wonder that He has been this good.

But what about when a quick glance shows something totally different? What about when these living, talking reflections—our children—give us a glimpse of the jarring, ugly, remaining sin? What about when their anger towards another bears striking resemblance to my own? What about when their impatience, rudeness or gracelessness mirrors mine in detail? I look at the reflection and, even as I'm jarred by the ugliness, I can’t deny the awful similarity. That look, that voice, that's me.

We watch a child get angry or impatient and, with sinking heart, we know it is a precise and irrefutable reflection of our own sin. We look at them and see ourselves, our sin reflected in them, and we see how our sin ripples out in waves around us.

The mirror of children is a compelling way to behold sin.

There may be moments where the reflection is ugly, but the hope--always the hope--is this: even as my child reflects me, I day by day, more and more reflect my Father above. As a parent, I'll never be perfect, but in Christ there will be growth that reflects His goodness and beauty.

Our reflection is changing. Our reflection is being changed. 

When we see reflections of love, of patience, of joy, we are humbled by His transforming grace. When we see reflections of anger, of impatience, of sin, we are hopeful because of His unrelenting grace.
In Psalm 103 King David describes God's grace like this: The Lord is like a father to His children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. 

The mirror of children: when the reflection is beautiful, we have humility; when the reflection is ugly, there is yet hope. Though children reflect both the good and the bad in their earthly parents, the child of God reflects a heavenly Father who is only good.

And this is our Father:

God does not punish us for all our sins, and does not deal harshly with us as we deserve. God does not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. God has removed our sin as far as the east is distant from the west. God is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 

What a Father we've been given to reflect to our own children.