“Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10
So many time I have been stymied by how to respond to my kid with mental illness. Actually, my difficulties began way before his illness emerged, back when I had littles and was trying to learn how to discipline them. Does he not understand or is he disobeying? Does he need a hug or a timeout? Later, I stumbled over: Is this lack of character which ought to be challenged, or is this part of the illness? Does he need tenderness or consequences?
Looking to the example of our heavenly Parent, I realize-
The hug, the tenderness.
God practices the caregiver balance of love and compassion, and boundaries and health. He gives us the lovingkindness of His mercy and care, but still tells us the truth about ourselves and about Him. He shows us righteousness- His perfection and holiness and abhorrence of sin- and offers us peace and reconciliation through Jesus.
Putting God’s example into practice is pretty hard though. It requires wisdom and self-control. For me, the best way is to have some stuff thought out ahead of time. Boundaries already in place and clearly communicated make a good response so much easier. I’m rarely at my best in the heat of the moment. But referring back to a rule or boundary that was communicated when feelings were cool and calm helps not only my kid, but me, to see that anger or fear is not ruling the situation.
What boundaries do we need to set in place to serve both love and truth?