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Character Matters
October 2011
Character Trait – Grace and Graciousness:
Check It Out. – What Does It Matter? – How Does it Count?
by Lori Coeman
Family Foibles
Raise your hands if you have ever had this happen to you: your children spend the day with another family who reports back to you about how well-behaved your children were, even in an area that seems to be a problem in your own home. You shake off the shock and then ask yourself, “What gives?”

The answer: family. To paraphrase the quote of the month: there is no greater character builder than the family. It is within the safe environment of unconditional love that God allows us to work on our character and sanctifies our outward behaviors.

In practical terms, that means that we often show our worse side to family members because we let down our guard and remove our superficial masks. We can be “real” and “comfortable” with our family.

While that can be a nice release from time to time, that is not God’s ultimate intention for the home environment. The home is to be the mechanism that produces the very scenario described above; it is the place where we train and prepare our children to be able to function in society.

What exactly is grace? The root word literally means to be full of cheer, to go well, to go with God (God speed). What isn’t so apparent is how it is that we can be full of cheer and things can be well between us and God. It comes back to God showing us His favor with the free gift of His love.

Theologically, grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is what allows a person to be reconciled to God despite the sinful nature. It also includes His divine influence acting in a person, restraining that person from sin, and being an instrument of improvement and growth.

Graciousness is the display of that divine love relationship in a person’s outward behavior. It’s having the character of Christ and doing what Christ would do in a certain situation.

Jonathan Edwards, the notable Great Awakening preacher wrote, “Family education and order are some of the chief means of grace; if these are daily maintained, all the means of grace are likely to prosper and become effective.”

Notice that all important IF/THEN statement. If these are daily maintained… That is one of the values of home education – we have the opportunity to practice daily the operation of grace, over and over in the course of a day.

So in keeping with this month’s theme of what a homeschooling parent can do that cannot be done as effectively elsewhere, consider this. Who on this earth loves your child more than you? Who is most likely to be able to extend God’s grace to help a child learn the discipline of self-control? Who will unconditionally love your child even during the process of disciplining and correction? Who is most likely to model God’s grace to your child?
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Image Credit: © Khorzhevska -

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