Maybe that concept of that last post rubbed you the wrong way. After all, you came to this website looking for advice on how to change your teen, not yourself! The idea of God using your teen to reveal your own needs is pretty humbling stuff. But God is like that. He uses all of us in each others lives in the process of change that won’t be complete until we see Him, face-to-face. Let’s take a step back, and consider how He changes us — with a focus on our own hearts, instead of our teens.
We’re All Sinners
Sometimes, in all our “should-ing,” we forget. We forget that we’re all sinners, and we all fall short of God’s holy standard. None of us is where we “should” be (Romans 3:10). Paul describes this inner conflict in Romans 7: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
If he can be that transparent, why can’t we? It’s okay for our teens to know that we struggle and we sin. The truth is, they know it already. They need to know that we know it, too. And it bothers us. And sometimes we try hard, but we blow it anyway.
We All Need God’s Grace
The truth is that sometimes we don’t admit our own failures to our teens because we’re not admitting them to ourselves or to God. That’s a very dangerous place to be. Maybe we’re comparing ourselves to others (maybe even our own kids), and we measure up pretty well. But 2 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us that “comparing ourselves by ourselves” is foolish and pointless.
If our purpose is to draw closer to God, we have to give up our prideful self-protective facades. Only when we admit we need it, will we be able to receive God’s grace. If we keep pretending we don’t need it, though, we can be guaranteed we won’t be getting it: 1 Peter 5:5 says that God resists, or distances Himself, from prideful people. We might not be able to figure out how to draw close to our teens, but God tells us exactly how to be close to Him, and that path begins with honesty and humility. When we admit our need, we can find grace (Hebrews 4:16).
Just like our teens, we fall short. We sin and struggle and sin again. We need grace. So is it enough to admit our sinfulness in a general sense, as in “we’re all sinners and all need grace”? Nice try, but no, I don’t think we can stop there. To find out why, check out Part 3.