Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Magic Eraser

Walking the kids down to the bus this morning, I was mumbling under my breath and getting right into the middle of a pity party ... but I was well within my rights to have one ... wasn't I?

Yesterday was a long day, with 6+ hours spent in a car (either mine or my parents) and going to the funeral of my Great Aunty (which was a lovely time of remembrance), visiting my other Grandparents by the sea side (got my feet wet and sandy ...bliss!) But by the time I returned home I was pooped and very sore.

I woke this morning and became fully aware of how messy my home was ... and so began the pity party. "Why do I have to cleanup after everyone, when everyone helps to make the mess?" "Why does nothing get done unless I ask and bring it to someones attention?" "The washing could have been folded and put away at least" ... and blah blah blah.

My pity party continued all the way down our loooong red-dirt driveway until it erupted like a volcano at the end of the driveway spewing out self-justified words on my precious children like hot lava. There wasn't swearing, there was just lots of questions and lots of thinking that I'm unappreciated. There was one statement I really wish I had stopped my self from saying though ... "You kids can't get up off your fat bums and help" ... ouch. There may not have been swearing involved and it might not be the harshest of statements, but when you have an 8 year old who is becoming self-conscious about her appearance, those words stung her heart like a whip lashing; she burst into tears. It was then I wish I had a magic eraser to rub-out those words (and the others) that left my children disheartened before they got to school, and start all over again (please tell me I'm not the only mother in need of this eraser?)

The truth is my kids do help, they do pull their weight really well, and yes I might have to remind them (the younger two more than the older two), but they are still in the process of learning to do these things. How can I expect them to know how to do something if I haven't taken enough time to teach them how to do it in the first place? How can I expect them to control their tongue and solve problems respectfully when I rant and rave and carry on like a tantrum throwing child? (Not nice to admit that sometimes happens) How can I except them to show the grace of our Savior to others if its not extended to them too?

The Bible says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you ... isn't this inclusive of our children too? It also says, "let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds" ... don't we want our children to be spurred on towards love and good deeds? It starts with our example, and how we treat them. Is a child exempt from being treated decently just because they are a child? No! The Bible says, whatever you do to the least of these you do unto ME, and he corrects the disciples for sending the children away from him by saying "Let the little children come unto me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these". (So really children are not 'the least of these' to our precious Savior).

Proverbs talks about "A wise woman building her home, but a foolish one tearing it down with her own hands". Isn't that what the pity party does? Isn't that the result of harshly spoken words, a little more tearing down? A lot more work to rebuild?
Proverbs also says "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver"... the Proverbs 31 woman (how many of you have tried to ignore the convictions that come from reading about that women like I have!!) is said to "speak with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue". Somehow I don't think statements like "your fat bums" is either faithful instruction or wisdom.

James 1:26 clearly states, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless". Proverbs 12:18 says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword ..." that is what our ranting does, it's piercing those who hear it. Proverbs 17:14 says, "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a damn; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out". It says in Philippians to do 'everything without complaining or arguing'. There are lots of warnings in God's word that speak to us reminding us of the destruction and hurt we can bring to people by our careless words. But I know you, like me, don't want that for your family just as much as I don't want that for mine. I know we want to be that woman who builds her home by building up the self-esteem and confidence of our husbands and children; by teaching our children the ways of the Lord so when they are old they will not depart from it.

And praise the Lord we are not under condemnation for the times we do slip up and wish we had that magic eraser! Praise Him that we can ask for forgiveness and rely on the Holy Spirit's power to give us His self-control so that we can be a blessing with our words. (And hopefully  not even need that eraser!) He has not asked us to do these things without the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit (and I need that help!). I desire to speak words of grace, encouragement, wisdom, love and guidance. I desire to have more self-control over my tongue and lead by example the hearts of my children. When our children need correction and truth to be able to speak that in love. Do you?

What will be the results of our words that are aptly spoken? 

Prov 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. We will be sweet healing to the very core of the people we speak to.

Prov 16:21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. We will be discerning and our children will want to listen to our instruction and follow it.

Prov 20:15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. Our wise words will be more precious to our children than gold or jewels (or any other amount of 'stuff' we can give them).

And this one ... this one blows me away, melts my heart and brings me to sobbing thankfulness ... every time. Proverbs 22:11 ... He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the King for his friend.

Let me encourage you (and me) to continue to ask the Holy Spirit to make our speech wiser, more loving, gracious, discerning, faithful and encouraging. Let us ask Him to be the builder of our homes and let's read the floor plans of His word to see how to live it out. Unless the Lord builds our house we labour in vain. And let's remember that we are not under condemnation, we are under grace ... and His grace is sufficient for us.

And me now? I have the task of asking my children (especially Little Miss P) for forgiveness this afternoon, and then choose an action to show them I am sorry. Not nice, but necessary if I want to build this house with love.

Let me leave you with this beautiful word of encouragement, again from Proverbs. It's in chapter 24 verse 3-4. "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures".


You are more than welcome to leave your comments, they will be greatly appreciated.

You are loved.

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