I came across this helpful post from Desiring God Ministries on displaying grace to our kids that should “know better.” I hope this resonates with you as much as it did me.
“You know better.”
Sometimes I say this when my kids do something totally bizarre. “What are you doing coloring your earlobes with a marker? You know better.”
Sometimes I say this when I rebuke them. “We don’t snatch toys from each other. You know better.”
This phrase is instructive; I want to remind my children to exhibit the maturity that I know they’ve learned.
But sadly, more often than not, my tone is condescending and these words are accompanied by a groan of exasperation. If I wrote down the things I’ve said in those moments then the text would be punctuated by angry emoticons.
In those frustration-filled moments what I really mean when I say, “You know better” is that at this moment there is no grace available for you. Instead of marveling together with them at the grace of God which we all need, I dole out some guilt for their young consciences to shoulder.
… My assurance is not based on how I “know better” and how I think I would do better if given the chance. No amount of self-deprecating or good intentions can atone for my sin before a holy God.
No, I am represented by a Surety, someone who has willingly taken the full legal responsibility for my insurmountable sin debt with God. Jesus is my “guarantor” (Hebrews 7:22). And my Surety now stands before the throne of God — his bleeding sacrifice for my sins pleads for God’s grace (Hebrews 12:24). In Him I am certain of full forgiveness today, and certain of more grace tomorrow.