Today we get to read from Colossians chapter 3 in light of the theme this week of “Security and Safety” in familiesColossians 3 18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Well you have to admit, the Apostle Paul did not waste a lot of ink when giving counsel to families! Typically I find it easier for me to find ways to apply God’s word to other people than to me. I have to be a little more intentional about applying it to me ….. I sense that is what I need to be doing with these words today!
I am a husband and a father! I see three rather poignant directives “Love”, “do not be harsh” and “do not embitter”! When I contemplate these words in light of my family roles I can easily see how “love” increases a sense of heart safety and security while “harshness” and “saying and doing things that nurture bitterness in my children” compromise a sense of heart security and safety. I feel a sense of conviction as the Holy Spirit reminds me through these words of my sin in this arena. He is calling me to repentance! I get to embrace the reality of my sin and failure, receive forgiveness and turn away from that behavior bearing “fruit” in keeping with my repentance!
One way that I often promoted the possibility of bitterness in my children was by being late picking them up from school, practices, events etc. Although I am guilty of this with all of my children remembrances of tardiness with my daughter Sarah seem to be on the forefront of my mind right now! When making these belated pickups my mind was usually formulating justifiable excuses which I could begin our conversation with! Thinking back now, I must have seemed so foolish to Sarah. My perpetual tardiness and more significantly my” justifying refusal to admit fault” demeanor certainly was fertile ground for her to develop a sense of bitterness toward me and toward life.
The good news is I do remember times when I did not blame or justify but was honest in asking for forgiveness. I also remember late night conversations with Sarah, giving and receiving grace, truth, repentance and forgiveness with each other! Those kinds of conversations neutralized bitterness and promoted safety and security.
I do not have to wallow in guilt or delve into denial when it comes to dealing with my own sins and failures in my family. I am forgiven in Jesus name! He paid so I don’t have to! I get to be free to “love” my family well. Today, I think I might call Sarah and tell her what God brought to my mind today! Perhaps we will get to remember together the power of God's truth, grace and forgiveness in our lives.
Enjoy Grace today! Live free…. Free to love those closest to you!