Mercy Versus Excuse
MERCY VERSUS EXCUSE
Every parent needs discernment!!
Many times it is difficult to know whether your little one (or your teenager!) is being willfully disobedient, or if they truly did something without thinking, or if they were so distracted they weren’t even aware of what they did or didn’t do,.. OR if they were genuinely feeling bad physically!
It is key to realize there are two extremes that we can easily fall in to:
NEVER SHOWING MERCY, but always making every situation a big showdown.
ALWAYS MAKING EXCUSES for disobedience, disrespect, or a bad attitude.
Mercy is powerful ! Sometimes a discerning parent or teacher realizes there are other factors that need attention now and not later. For example, shyness, insecurity or paralyzing self consciousness can create a huge obstacle for a person of any age to deal with in just the daily requirements of functioning!
My mom was a music teacher and her students came to our home for lessons. Because she was caring and discerning, there were times she responded not to the obvious lack of success that week in learning the music assignment, but to what was going on inside that student.
It makes me smile remembering her gentle loving manner towards one of her teenage students years ago. I can hear her now saying “What do you say we make up this lesson another day! But for now, let’s have a cup of hot tea and visit!” She LISTENED & ENCOURAGED, and LAUGHED with her troubled friend. This was the typical “discernment” I watched again & again, as my mom responded to the real need.
The key part of mercy is consistently using it to reinforce the good choices in life. My mom’s sensitivity pointed her sad music student that day to be thankful, to relax, to grow, & to move forward. Her words spoke of forgiving others, and believing God had good things ahead for her!
Mercy becomes an excuse when we condone or justify bad behavior. It is not mercy to let your children believe their selfish or mean bad attitude is normal or understandable under the circumstances!
Our mercy must have a clear message: you are loved, your feelings matter, but there is a lesson to be learned! We can encourage our kids by recounting situations in our own lives where we had to learn the same lesson. Declare that they are learning great lessons too!
We really can make it clear to our children: It’s okay to make mistakes! We all make them. BUT, it’s not okay to “normalize” bad behavior & attitudes, and make them acceptable for the future.
Mercy gives us another chance to make the right choices next time. Failure really can be a great teacher, if we make the correct conclusion that doing things the right way is always best.
I’m so thankful for the consistency of a mom who taught me the consequences of poor choices & behavior, but who also taught me to “shake it off, learn, and move on!”
We can empower our children with not only a resilient, inner strength through giving mercy, but also with a compassionate, merciful perspective toward those around them.
May we never let our family relationships become a series of “power struggles” but instead, may our discernment guide us in raising merciful, other-centered, happy young men & women of integrity, making a difference in their world! ❤️
Never Give Up!