Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday) is just around the corner, and churches and families everywhere are making preparations for beautiful services. That’s great because it’s a powerful message you want your kids to hear, but it’s not enough. You see, the best teaching on what Jesus did on the Cross and in the Resurrection may not come from a church service. It will come from you embracing a resurrected life in front of your kids.
What is a “resurrected life?”
A resurrected life is built on the confidence that Jesus is alive in you! This is what it means to be a new creation! We are made holy before God, because of Jesus, not by our own actions. Our baptism becomes a symbol of dying to our old selves and rising to a new life. THIS is the resurrected life. And we don’t access any of it by our own efforts or striving but simply by faith.
This new life brings hope – living hope!! God the Father “…has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” This new resurrected life also means that we are being filled up to overflowing with the wide, long, high, and deep love of Christ.
And can you think of anything families need more than faith, hope, and love?!
- Faith that the beautiful promises of scripture for you and your family are “Yes” in Christ!
- Hope in the hard times that Christ is “alive and well” in your midst through the Holy Spirit.
- Love that covers a multitude of sins because sin will happen in the messes of family life!
The resurrected life in action
Faith, hope, and love. Alive. In your family. But…
The best part? Your resurrected life is most on display to your kids when you’re NOT at your scrubbed and shiny Sunday best!
Does this sound familiar?
“Stop arguing and get moving – NOW!”
“NO!!!!” my intense son responded with steely determination.
I (Lynne) had frequent conflicts with Daniel, our oldest child. I often felt discouraged and ashamed after our conflicts, even if we apologized to each other.
On the day of the particular power struggle mentioned above, I again felt angry and discouraged. But I paused to take a breath, and an awareness of God’s love broke through. I gently said to Daniel, “You know what I think God just told me? That He has so much mercy on us in our struggle. He knows how hard it is for you and me to get along sometimes.”
That insight brought peace and made reconciling and solving our problem easier. But more importantly, it became a defining moment for me and our whole family – Jesus’ love was so very real in the worst messes of our family life!
Bring God’s grace into the hurtful moments
You can also bring this grace to your family in a powerful way, with a simple statement in an ugly moment like, “I’m so thankful that Jesus loves us right now, even when we’re being hurtful in our anger.” Because – where sin increases, grace increases even more. God’s grace and mercy when we sin are not wishful thinking! You can experience true peace as you embrace that grace and mercy are so real and so precious. (This doesn’t condone hurtful behavior, but grace strengthens our hearts to reconcile conflicts well.)
Your kids see you affirm the message of the Resurrection when you receive and pass on God’s grace and truth in the intensity of family conflict. Creating Easter traditions and attending Resurrection services are important, but kids look to parents as their primary example of how the resurrected life really plays out.
(If these ideas seem unfamiliar, you can consider: Do I know God’s sacrifice for me personally? Am I confident I’ve received that grace?)
Show the joy of a resurrected life, even when you mess up
A resurrected life isn’t living a perfect life. But it certainly isn’t living in the shame of your imperfections and fear of condemnation. It’s embracing God’s love for you right when your sin slaps you in the face. Celebrating God’s grace in conflict is a key way parents can demonstrate His mercy is real and abundant when we need it most.
After a conflict, when your kids are calm enough to be open to a little teaching, you can read 1 John 1:9 and add, “You know what? Jesus died for us because He knew how much we would mess up in our relationships – with God and with each other. He forgives us right away when we ask.”
When you have a family blow-up, don’t waste a good crisis. It’s an opportunity for grace to abound in amazing ways and for you to model faith when it really counts! Your children will mess up in life. You can prepare them now to view those times as filled with God’s ready grace and mercy.
Some more practical ideas:
- Memorize one of the verses mentioned above with your family, and (with discernment) remind them in a challenging moment. (Romans 5:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Peter 4:8)
- Offer a hug to a child who doesn’t deserve it, and tell them, “Jesus loves you…right now.”
- “Let’s take a break. Everyone can find a comfortable place. Probably none of us remembers how much God loves us right now, and we need that to help us.”
- “We’re gonna pray real quick here and ask God to help us figure this out.”
So the next time it all falls apart… “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
May you deeply treasure the death and Resurrection of Christ for you and your family this Easter!
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