My children have lovely names, but around here, they are often referred to as the Bickersons. Why? Because they bicker constantly.
After a conversation with some friends yesterday, I realized that there must be something about the ages of 8-11 that brings out the sibling rivalry in spades. We’re all dealing with it.
And we’re fed up with it. This constant arguing, tattling, and down-right meanness is making us…well, to put it gently….not enjoy our kids. We know, we know, they are only young for a little while. They will be gone before we know it. These innocent years will fly away like so much chaff. We want to enjoy our kids through these years.
BUT we have better things to do with our time than arbitrate battles. Constantly. Amen?
My church small group is currently reading a book by Max Lucado titled “In the Grip of Grace.” This morning, as I began to read the chapter we’ll be discussing later this week, I realized God was giving me some tools for these challenging times.
The chapter I read today is about the church and how we are to get along with one another, be unified in Christ, or else we are not going to win anyone over. But the principles in this book which are being applied to the church at large, spoke to me today about what is going on in our home.
On the last night of his life Jesus prayed a prayer that stands as a citadel for all Christians:
“I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me.” John 17:20-21
The last thing Jesus prayed before His crucifixion was about his believers living in unity – so that others will believe. Yes, this applies to our witness in general, but it also applies in our homes. What happens in our homes is sure to spill out into our “outside” lives. We have to practice, practice, practice. We have to remind, remind, remind. We have to drill these truths into our children. Into our own minds as well.
Lucado goes on to quote other scripture that applies here:
“all people will know you are my followers if you love each other” John 13:35
“Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.” James 3:16
“Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you.” James 4:1
We don’t do this all the time, because honestly, in the heat of the moment I can’t always recall the appropriate scripture, but when I can get my act together and push aside my irritation at yet another battle, I give my kids a verse to memorize. I write it on a piece of paper and put it before them constantly. We review it many, many times a day. It helps them remember where God stands on the issue. And it helps me keep the focus on Him and not just how this behavior is impacting my life, my plans, my peace and quiet.
If Jesus considered unity among the believers to be of such importance that He would pray about it right before His crucifixion, isn’t it also important enough for us to make this a focus in our own homes? If we don’t correct these behaviors and attitudes of discord in our own homes, how can we expect our kids to go out in the world and be a light that is drawing others to God? We can’t.
So this week, we will start easy: with the John 13 verse. As parents, grandparents, and teachers, we can also benefit from remembering that we need to love each other and that our mission here is to bring others to a life with Christ.
I realize this post has nothing to do with diet, health, or paleo living. It has to do with spiritual food, which in the end, is far more important.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13:31