Grace and love

Dan Seaborn 

Just from reading the title of this article, I’m guessing that some of you are already feeling a little hopeful because right now, we’re surrounded by so much that is so far removed from both grace and love. Both are things we crave. We long for acceptance, kindness and generosity. We wish we could experience camaraderie and joy together. And do you know what every single member of our family needs from us, especially right now? Grace and love.  

Everybody likes grace. In other words, we all know that we will mess up and make mistakes. And we know that when we do, the least productive thing is to have our noses rubbed in our mistakes and be reminded of them constantly. In those moments, we hope that our loved ones will extend grace and not hold our mistakes against us, especially if they aren’t part of a pattern of poor behavior. In my life, I’ve tried to be a person who extends grace to my family. I haven’t done it perfectly, but I’m so glad that I’ve tried to do it as well as I knew how to in that moment.  

One of the ways I gave grace to my family was by striving to offer unconditional love to my family members, and I encourage you to do the same. Honestly, it’s a must when it comes to family life. During your life as a parent, you might have a child go wayward. Even if it’s not that extreme, they’ll definitely get involved in things that you don’t agree with and wish they would avoid. Without realizing it, we may accidentally end up giving our children conditional love. In other words, we make it clear that as long as they behave the way we want them to and make the choices that we want them to make, then they’ll see love from us. However, that’s not what our kids and grandkids need. They need dependable love from us.  

Please don’t misunderstand me, though. It isn’t wrong to have guidelines, restrictions and rules. I have those things for both my children and my grandchildren. But I don’t base my love for them on how they’re doing at following the rules. They all know that there’s a thread of love that connects me to them no matter what. That thread cannot be broken. I may disagree with them when it comes to every single thing they think or action they take, but that thread will not be broken. That doesn’t mean I never challenge or correct them, but it means that our relationship is always top priority over anything else.  

I want to invite you to join me and commit to offering unconditional love to your family. That means you love them even if they don’t vote the way you do; even if they don’t value the same things you do; even if they don’t worship the same way you do; even if they don’t speak or dress the way you do. We’ve all had enough of division and discord, so let’s do all we can to bring some unity to our world right now. And let’s do that by starting with our families. Let’s be people who are gracious and loving. I can tell you that you absolutely won’t regret it. And I can also tell you that living with love and grace means that we’ll all be winning more often at home.  

We’ve all had enough division and discord. Offering grace and love to our family is the best place to start to heal. Consider taking the high road and forgive the hurts, set aside the disappointments and focus on unconditional love. You will like how that feels! It will eventually trickle down into other relationships that have suffered this year. Grace and love is a key component to winning at home.