Foundation of Love and Grace in Marriage and Parenting

-Tessy Mathew and Austin Joy

The first in-house Youth Fellowship discussion of the year 2024-25, led by Austin Joy, brought together young families from the Mar Thoma church. During this gathering, participants actively shared their experiences and explored the profound themes of love and grace.

Amazing Love

The meeting commenced by delving into the multifaceted concept of love as depicted in the Bible:

  1. Storge – empathy bond (Genesis 38:26)
  2. Philia – friend bond (1Sam 20:17, John 15:19, Rom 12:10, Heb 13:1)
  3. Eros – romantic love (2 Tim 3:3)
  4. Agape – unconditional love (Num 14:18, Mat 22:37, John 3:16, John 13:34, 1 John 4:7-11)

Among these, Agape being the highest form of love, is the love that God has for us. It is the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances. It is self-sacrificial and seeks nothing in return.

The discussion also addressed the apparent tension between God’s wrath and His love. While God hates sin, His justice demands consequences. Jesus serves as the perfect example of self-sacrificing Agape love, willingly dying for us even when we were sinners. This harmonizes God’s perfect love and justice.

Furthermore, seemingly unjust scenarios—such as the Prodigal Son’s celebration, the thief on the cross, and the workers in the vineyard—reveal that God’s grace remains constant, irrespective of circumstances.

Jesus reminds us that all that we have is from God, that all our blessings are from God’s generosity, NOT our own doing (Ephesians 2:8). Because God loves us so much, His love should overflow from us into others. Jesus asked us to love one another as he has loved us and that is our calling.

Abundant Grace

The Bible presents two facets of grace:

  1. Undeserved Favor (Ephesians 2:8) – emphasizes that our blessings stem from God’s unearned favor.
  2. Power of Living (2 Corinthians 9:8) – illustrates how grace empowers us to live righteously out of gratitude for God’s love.

Grace does not provide a license for indulging in sin; rather, it enables holy living. Our good deeds cannot outweigh our bad deeds to earn eternal life. Salvation comes solely through God’s grace, as all have fallen short of His perfect standard (Romans 3:23).

To receive God’s grace, we must acknowledge it and remain open to receiving it. Whether facing family challenges, work relationships, or personal struggles, God’s grace is always available. A simple prayer can unlock its transformative power.

Christianity stands apart from other major religions in its approach to salvation. Unlike systems where good deeds earn salvation, Christianity reverses the order. We receive justification by faith, not based on our behavior or works, but because of grace. Our actions then follow as a response to this undeserved gift.

Relationship between Agape Love and Grace: God’s grace beautifully expresses this Agape love. Even while we were sinners, Christ died for us, demonstrating the depth of His love and grace.

Love and Grace in Marriage

Ephesians 5:25 instructs husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. For wives, love (caring) is crucial, while respect is essential for husbands. Neglecting either element can lead to the negative feedback loop known as the “crazy cycle.”

The positive cycle emerges when godly love and grace break this negative pattern. Unconditional love from husbands meets emotional needs, fostering mutual respect and strengthening the marriage bond.

Extending grace within marriage involves recognizing our imperfections and remembering God’s unwavering grace. By doing so, we create space for grace in our relationships.

Effective Communication in Marriage:

  • Listening vs. Solving: Men often err by providing solutions when women share their problems. However, women seek empathy and understanding, not just solutions. Active listening becomes the key.
  • rayer and Growth: Couples who pray together nurture love and grace. Celebrate progress, encourage each other’s efforts, and gently address areas where grace can be extended.

Love and Grace in Parenting

Bible asks parents not to provoke their children, but instead, raise them in the Lord’s discipline and instruction (Eph 6:4). God endorses discipline. God disciplines us because he loves us. Godly discipline is to show them the right path, as God showed us through the Word of God

Godly discipline is NOT saying “Yes” to everything, NOT being impulsive, and NOT driven by pride, shame, or control.

Every parent gets angry at his or her children sometimes. The most important thing to remember about anger is NOT to act while you’re angry.

Bible says “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). So, let us ask ourselves

  • Was my discipline a loving discipline?
  • Was I patient?
  • Was I kind?
  • Was I slow to anger?
  • Was I irritable?
  • Was I resentful?

Let us seek God Grace to guide us in this principle of love as we all aim to create more loving families as we prepare to reunite one day with the God of love.

About Austin Joy

Member of San Francisco Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam & Young Family Fellowship