I loved this idea; I loved doing it; and I'm not taking credit for it because God told me to.
We usually define grace as "unmerited favor". Eugene Peterson describes grace as "aggressive forgiveness". That's what I felt like I was doing (and I liked it!). Jesus did that for us - loved us when we hated him. And, he still does. I think it's really hard to do that for others unless we know what it feels like to be the recipient of it. And, more importantly, He helps us do it. We can't really do it on our own. I am learning that the more we do this, the less depressed and grumpy we are. He also defines it (in Romans 5:19) as a wildly extravagant life -gift; not just getting us out of trouble, but getting us into life! Who wouldn't want to give this kind of gift to someone? It's awesome. God loves to give it to us, and the more we are filled with the Spirit of God, the more we love to give this gift of grace to others.
Tullian Tchividjian explains grace similarly;
"The only way licentious people start to obey is when they get a taste of God's radical unconditional acceptance of sinners." (You may want to read that a few times - it's big.) This is a great parenting tip. God radically, unconditionally, accepted us into His family when we deserved the boot. If we can get our kids to understand the amazing, appealing, magnetizing greatness of God's grace by displaying it to them as they grow up; it can help them obey out of love AND really live!
Ephesians 2:4-5 tells us:
"Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!" (MSG)
I soooo need God's power in me to do this with my daughter. Embracing her from knowing how much God loves me and shows mercy to me can help take her "sin-dead" life and guide her to the One who can bring her life!
"Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us to life - a life that goes on and on and on..." Romans 5:21 (MSG)
Do you see it? Grace makes us come alive! It's God's gift to us, that if we grasp - taking hold of with all our might, and reaching out to others with that same love, will show us what it means to have life to the FULL!