Today’s Bible reading over at giveattentiontoreading.com really hit me about how I deal with my family.
The verse that really got me was Hebrews 5:2, “He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.” The Hebrew writer was talking about the Old Covenant priests who had to offer sacrifices for themselves as well as for the people. They could deal gently with others because they recognize their own weaknesses.
That hit me regarding my preaching and relationships with brethren. But it also made me think about my wife and kids. It really struck me that usually I’m most harsh with my wife and kids if they are making a mistake I have made. I think in some ways I can get really harsh because I can trick myself into thinking I’m better than I am. If I come down really hard on them about the issue that means I’m not soft on the issue with them and really I have a good handle on it. I can make myself feel better than them by really letting them have it.
Interestingly, the Bible says my own weaknesses should have the exact opposite affect. Instead of my weaknesses making me more harsh with my family, they ought to help me address my family with gentleness.
This is especially true with my children. How often I see them make my mistakes and out of the noble desire to protect them from the consequences I’ve had to face I start getting mean, harsh, controlling, and even manipulative. In my mind, it is about protecting and preserving them. That seems noble enough. One of the things I’m learning is that when I’m mean, harsh, or controlling, I usually just push my kids to keep making the same mistakes. When I approach them with gentleness, recognizing my own weaknesses, even leading with my weaknesses, that seems to help them a whole lot more.
I’m making a personal commitment today. Before I start getting on to my kids for anything, I want to first think about my own weaknesses. I want to remember that I am beset with weakness. That way, when I deal with their weaknesses, I can do so with the proper spirit.
Have a great week and remember that God’s way works with our families.