A Soft Answer . . .
Two thoughts before I share today’s post: (1) sorry for the two week delay for the 3 of you who read my blog – life has been a bit crazy since coming home with an ‘almost-five-year-old-who-cannot-speak-English-or-understand-our-motives-and-intent-and-thinks-she-has-been-kidnapped’ girl from Ethiopia; and (2) REMINDER: the purpose of this blog is to share what’s on the HEART of this pastor.
So life has been tense at the Pearson home. No surprise there. Bringing Birtukan to a new home (for her AND the Pearson’s), pastoring a new church, making new friends, etc. etc. has been fun – BUT VERY TENSE much of the time. Add to that the fact that Katie and I are automatic ‘if-you-even-look-at-me-wierd-I-am-going-to-get-tense-at-you’ stress balls, then you have a recipe for some good old fashion fun at home.
It really hit me hard yesterday that I have been yelling at Luke and Seth alot lately. I mean ALOT. Sometimes they deserve a rebuke or correction. At other times they don’t. But since I was tense, what did I do when they so much as breathed too loud? I yelled. I glared. I gave them ‘the look.’
You know what I noticed? They yelled at each other. They glared at each other (and me!). They gave others their own version of ‘the look.’ It pains me to type this, but they are simply modeling the ONLY thing they have seen or heard from their daddy in recent days.
After Katie and I had a ‘come to Jesus meeting’ (Translation: She let me ‘have it’ – deservedly so – due to my poor attitude and spirit all weekend long) in my study at home (have I mentioned I have a study at home? No? well, I DO!), I went to my office at the church for a previously scheduled meeting with some prospective deacons. Know what passage I read to them as we started? 1 Timothy 3. You know what 1 Timothy 3:4-5 says? “He (the pastor) must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” Yikes.
It’s one thing to have your wife call you on a sin. That’s bad enough! But it’s another thing to have GOD do it!!!!!
Both were/are right: My spirit and attitude at home has been awful and if I don’t shape up I will be disqualified from pastoring.
THEN the Lord brought to my mind these verses from Proverbs 15:
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (1)
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (4)
The way to instruct and discipline and ‘bring along’ the boys is never to jump down their throats. It is to express self control toward them by leading them with a soft answer and a gentle tongue.
In fact, I am reminded something my own father said to me when I was getting in my car at the airport two weeks ago with my new family of five. He said, “I am so proud to be your dad.” Do you think that made me love him more or less? Do you think that motivated me to make him more proud of me or less?
In reality, that’s how our heavenly Father deals with His children isn’t it? Just before Jesus was to do battle and exert his energy on 3 years of earthly ministry He heard His Father say: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)
Dads, our children need to be disciplined – YES. Our children need to be instructed and corrected and ‘brought along’ toward the right way. But barking orders and yelling demands only reveals our own laziness not to get up and direct them in the way, and our own lack of self discipline to control our tension or anger or frustration with the tone of our voice. Any man can yell at his son. It doesn’t take strength to do that – just flesh. But it takes a real man to control himself, express love toward his children, and gently lead them the way he himself is being led by the Father.