I may be starting out a little risky and with an unpopular opinion, but that’s what this is all about, right? This has been on my heart for quite some time now…
We see these headlines more and more these days: “Child left in hot car”, “Child playing cops and robbers, accidentally shoots brother” “Child lost in the store.” Automatically, the parents of those children are forever marked as “unfit parents.” And I just can’t get behind that.
Some days I feel like an “unfit parent.” When my son falls down the steps when I’m 2 feet away because I have bad reflexes. When he’s throwing a tantrum out in public and nothing I do will get him to stop. When all he eats for dinner is ice cream because that’s all I can get him to eat. I have to remind myself daily that God made me a parent for a reason, to love my child and to help him grow into a great man, however that may be.
When the tragedies we hear about in the news happen, I wholeheartedly believe that most of those parents are truly good parents, or at least trying to be. I really don’t think they woke up that morning thinking “I’m going to let my child wander into a gorilla’s cage.” Or “I’m going to purposely not buckle my kid in his car seat and get in a car accident.”
Sadly, I know there are certain circumstances where parents CHOOSE to make these choices solely to abuse or neglect their child, for whatever reason. Those are entirely different situations that I’m not going to get into, at least not right now. I will say, though, that when they do happen, my heart goes out to the children and people involved and all I want to do is pray for them, not make a hateful comment about the parents. But that’s just me.
Now, there’s this sweet thing called grace that Jesus gives to us when we make a mistake. When we know what we did was wrong, all we have to do is ask Him to forgive us. And guess what, HE DOES! Jesus doesn’t say, “Oh nope you made one bad call, you’re done.” No, he says “It’s okay, I still love you and I want what’s best for you.” For some reason, we have such a hard time giving that same grace to others. We automatically assume the worst in these parents, instead of giving them a little bit of grace and love. We don’t think that maybe they had their hands full with groceries and 3 other kids that they didn’t realize until 10 minutes later that their toddler was locked in the car. We don’t think that they took their eyes off of their kid for 5 seconds to get them a popsicle and they ran out into the road. No, instead we decide that we are perfect parents and they are not. But that’s not how it should be.
Am I saying that we should totally overlook when things like this happen? No, authorities will do their job of figuring out exactly what happened and going from there. What I’m saying is that we, parent or not, should take a step back and realize that these parents need a little love to help deal with the guilt and shame that they already have. We need to be more like Jesus and give them that sweet, sweet grace.