Our lack of mercy in mothering our children is often a result of not understanding God’s mercy towards us. Mercy begets mercy.
Compassion Born from Compassion
Abraham Lincoln said, “I regard no man as poor who has a godly mother.”
I heard this quote today and really began pondering these questions: Why would a godly mother make such a difference in a man’s life? What benefit, surpassing riches, would a godly mother give? A man can become a Christian as an adult, or even as a child, without a godly mother, and have Jesus for all times. So, why is a godly mother of any importance to a grown man? Well, as I thought this one through, I think it’s because a truly godly mother models a tender loving God to her children. A godly mother shows Jesus to her children. Jesus had extremely high standards, yet was so full of mercy, so full of compassion, so full of acceptance and love. He had high standards, but showed us the way to reach them, through understanding that there was no way we could; only He could. He asks us to quit striving and simply rest in Him, allowing Him to fill us with strength. A godly mother teaches her children to recognize their frailty and inability, and how to depend upon Him.
I’m fully convinced that a godly mother isn’t perfect. We must show our children how to live out their faith. If we modeled perfection, think how discouraging it would be for them when they entered the world and found out they weren’t perfect. They would wonder what to do. I think it does our children a disservice to pretend we are perfect: no bad thoughts, no bad deeds, no weaknesses, no sin. No, a godly mother isn’t perfect, but she is honest. She’s real and frank about her imperfections, her sins, her fears. She models for her children repentance, prayer and dependence on Him for transformation. Yet, still, above all, a godly mother is merciful, accepting, and compassionate towards the weaknesses and sins of her children, and herself. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Many of us have a hard time being merciful and compassionate towards our children because we are not fully grasping God’s merciful compassion towards us. We often see ourselves as “not measuring up” to the standards we believe we should reach. We think God would be more pleased with us if we were doing things better. The sad truth is, we have it all wrong.
You see, God adores you, delights in your presence and enjoys you totally, even though you messed up this day, this week, perhaps this whole year. You are a child of God. You stand before Him clean, for you are IN Christ. Your sins are something He already has plans to deal with. He’s not shaking His head saying, “How many times do I have to tell you?” He knows exactly when you’re going to stop doing this or that thing. He looks at you and sees the finished product, not the work in progress that you are right now. He’s so much bigger than that. He wants you to spend time with Him. You’re His and He wants you to know how loved you are.
I know that when we grasp God’s great love for us, we feel free. Free from the rules, the stifling standards of perfection, the striving, and the fear and insecurity that plagues us. Knowing, really having a heart knowledge of God’s precious love for us, makes us feel secure and peaceful. And that peace will fill us with God’s love for others, especially the darlings He has placed under our care.
Let me share a visual that helped me grasp God’s tender love. Cup your hands as if you were holding a tiny kitten. Imagine gazing upon the kitten, feeling tenderness and love for the kitten, just adoring the cute little thing. If you don’t like kittens, imagine something else tiny, cute and darling in your hands. Do that now. Okay, now imagine you in those hands and God holding you with that same amount of love and tenderness. The fact is, God does that, but with immeasurably more tenderness and love for you EVERY DAY. Wow.
“Oh Lord, let me, being rooted and firmly established in love, be able to comprehend…the breadth and width, height and depth of Your love that surpasses knowledge, so that I may be filled with all the fullness of You. May I overflow with your love to me, giving my children the abundant acceptance they so long for. Forgive me and cleanse me of my stern, selfish, striving, pharisaical mothering. Allow me to be full of you. Please make me a godly mother.”