Have you ever been yelled at as an adult? Maybe it was in traffic or when you accidentally spilled something on a brute at a ball game. Whatever the situation, how did it make you feel? Did you feel your face get red? Were you embarrassed or angry? After the fact, even hours later, did you feel vengeful or keep thinking of things you could have or should have yelled back at the person? Now, rewind to the last time you yelled at your child. Do you think they feel much differently? Do you think raising your voice or using harsh words helps or hurts the relationship with young people?
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29-32, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
There is powerful truth in this passage regarding communication in general especially at home, but let’s focus for now on the word “clamor” in verse 21. The word comes from a word that means to croak (as a raven) or scream that is, shriek, cry (out). This unfortunately describes most every one of us as parents at one time or another in the way we speak to our kids. We lose control because we had a long day, our kids get under our skin, they disobey or disrespect one too many times and instead of responding firmly in love, we respond firmly in anger, clamor and evil speaking. Instead of solving the problem, we makes it worse.
Here are 10 suggestions for dealing with yelling and/or its aftermath.
It is here. 2016 is a fresh start. It provides a clean slate to write your story. Here are some biblical ways of doing so to consider as you begin. Of highest importance is knowing for sure you have a vital real relationship with Jesus Christ through the simple plan of the Gospel. If you are unsure of your relationship with God, we would invite you to contact us to talk in person. In the meantime, click here to help understand more about your relationship with God.
Here are 7 practical ways to begin 2016 in a biblical way.
I had the opportunity to teach Sunday School class at a church near an Army base. As I spoke about Christ's example of helping those in need, I commented on the fact that we all have needs. People everywhere are hurting. You know them, though you may not even know of their pain.
The ice broke. It was a blessing to see that people were getting the fact that each person around us has needs. Sometimes the needs are blatant. Often the needs are covered over by the smokescreen of pride. Because the needs are masked over, the needs go unmet and the pain goes on day after day. I recently sat in a class at church where a man revealed some of the day-in day-out, real pain that was going on in his marriage and with his children. Many of us in the class didn't even know what to say, not because we were shocked at the greatness of his need, but because he had boldly stated that he needed our prayers and help. We just don't do that! What a shame that our pride so hinders God's plan of using others to minister to our needs. God speaks of His desire for us in our ministry to one another in Hebrews 10:24 when He writes "let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."
Notice first that the writer is telling each of us to "consider." It is not just the pastor's job to do the considering. This isn't a professional's task. It is each person's responsibility to understand what is going on in the lives of the people around them.
Second, this issue is dealt with on a linear basis. We are all equals. As people we all need others looking out for us and helping us with our needs and problems. It is normal to need counsel. God tells us in Proverbs (1:5, 7; 11:14; 19:20; etc.) that only a fool tries to live life on his own understanding, with no outside counsel. Beginning in the garden in Genesis we see that people need wise counsel so they don't "lean on their own understanding" and fall.
Third, this command requires action to complete. Each of us must be provoking (prodding) others. As a child I learned that a cattle prod (an electrical gadget that produces a high voltage shock) provides enough impetus to move an 1800 pound bull into the corral. (I might add that it can really make an armadillo move also!) I am not saying that we need to go out and buy a cattle prod, but we must have the guts and humility, and time to approach a person and prod them, provoking (encouraging) them toward God's answers for life. Finally, when it comes to helping a person with their needs, your opinions may have a place, but people always need God's opinion. Though we should certainly use our own life experiences as a testimony of God's work in our lives, the best prod we could use is Scripture. We must be prepared by knowing how to point them to God's way of life and Biblical principles that will help them answer their problems and needs. As God says in verse 24, "provoke unto love and good works."
God gives us Christ as the greatest example of how He wants us to reach out and help others with their needs. We are to focus our time on showing people that we care, and focus our minds on understanding one another so that we are able to help one another through daily life. The command is to learn about (consider) the person so that you can prod (encourage) them on to love (giving) and good works (glorifying God by obedience to His commands). Whether at home, at work, at school or church--wherever you are with people--reach out. Search for opportunities to bring the hope of God to the needy people all around us.
believe we need to answer the above two questions (Click Here to read Part 1) by first focusing our hearts on God. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 are very clear that we must not just consider that God is important. “God is great, God is good, now we thank him for our food” (our normal, daily acknowledgement of God) is not an end, it is a beginning! The verses clearly say that we are to “love the Lord our God with all [our] heart, and with all [our] soul, and with all [our] might.”
I would love a big HD TV (bigger is better!). I would also love a Convertible Vette (’72, black). My idol of choice is comfort. As Paul Tripp outlines in his book Age of Opportunity, it could just as well be control, success, respect, or appreciation. My point is that there are many choices that we make each day that move our hearts away from worshiping God and toward worshiping the creation (and ultimately self, see Romans 1:25). It isn’t that it is a sin to get, have, and enjoy, but is that our focus? If that is our focus then ultimately what we pass on to our children is a focus on self. What are you passing on?
Do we really love the Lord with all our might. Is my whole heart totally given to Him? If it is, my schedule often teaches differently. How about yours? As Luke 6:45 states that our behavior is a revealer of our hearts, what does our schedule reveal about where our hearts are focused? What should a person that is loving the Lord with all really look like? Back in Deuteronomy we see an answer. Chapter 6 verse 20 reveals that our lives should provoke our children to ask why we live so differently from everybody else, and what do all these things God has commanded really mean? A life that is “caught up” with God, isn’t “caught up” with houses, cars, electronics, vacations, retirement, clothes, and restaurants (Mt. 6:24. Deuteronomy 6:10-12 gives an eerily accurate warning to avoid this. Verse six of the same chapter says that we are to take the words that God has communicated to us about life (His commands, statutes, testimonies) and make them a part of our hearts (inner man—the real us!).
Secondly, we must free up the resources to enable us to communicate that focus to our spouse and children. I believe that in our society it takes money to live (in fact, more and more of it!). If I said otherwise I would lose all credibility as a (somewhat) sane person. Chapter 6, verses 11-14 warn that when we have houses full of stuff, and life is easy, beware of leaving your commitment to God and serving and worshipping what the others around you are serving and worshipping. Are these verses applicable in our culture? Are they applicable to you and me? Yea. We need a shift in thinking from, “how much can I get to live on,” to “how much do I need to live on.” We all have different incomes and expenses. Some expenses are, to a large degree fixed, some are discretionary. We have all heard the saying, “you either have time or money.” I fear that we have lost track of the fact that the pursuit of money takes time. Time is something we think a lot about, but perhaps we don’t think about just how valuable it is. When we are given the responsibility to diligently teach our children about our love for God and His instructions for life, verse 7 expresses the value of time. In verse 7 of Deuteronomy 6 God commands us to take the time all through the day to have proximity and purpose in our interaction with our children. A good summary of the teaching in these verses would be, “all throughout your day, diligently teach your children about the God that resides in your heart.” That takes time, making time immensely valuable. A new car, a bigger house, nice clothes, and eating out are fun luxuries, but because of the time investment required to get, have, and enjoy, their cost can be exponentially more than their value! Some of those things can hinder and even take away our ability to influence our children (and spouse) toward God.
If you need a new method of time management, books abound, read away. My hope here is that you will look closely at the two key thoughts. As you head toward the end of the year take time to reflect on the focus of your heart. What needs to change about your focus? After you evaluate, and adjust your heart’s focus, assess your time resources. With the correct focus you will find the time resources you are looking for. Make those adjustments that need to be made so you can free up your resources to have the time to reach your children’s hearts. A summary of the truths found in Deuteronomy 6: 20-25 reveals the fruit of living God’s commands for life:
So that, when your child asks you in time to come, saying, what is all this Bible and God stuff, you will hear their question, wrap your arms around them and tell them all that God has done for you and how much you love Him.
Americans live at a frantic pace. I'm an American. I'm not sure what the rest of the world is experiencing, but contemporary life here in the good ole’ U.S. of A. just doesn’t fit into Mark Twain’s lazy days of floatin’ down the Mississippi. That is a bygone era (if there ever was one). Most of us find ourselves immersed in our own very busy lives.
Have you had the same moments of reflection I've had that provoke me to wonder where it all went? What's more - how is this busy life impacting my family? What's it doing to my relationship with my wife? When am I finding time to influence my children and love them toward God? The example I am living, is it leading those I love to a stronger faith in God? As Christian parents, we have a lot of things to accomplish in this time-limited, time-pressured life. Though we often get the required tasks done, in my observations, few of us get the necessary tasks done.
After reading something like that, it's easy to walk away with a serious guilt trip. That's not my intention. As I look at my own wife and children and their multitude of needs, I become even more frustrated with the pressures of my own life. Sometimes it's like I'm watching a movie where it's plain to see something bad is going to happen. I want to yell out, “No, don’t do it, can’t you see what will happen?”
But no one listens.
The scene just keeps on rolling.
Have you ever felt this way? You can see something bad is going to happen, but you're helpless to change it? What do we do? Too often we simply plod along anyway. “The show must go on,” you know!
No, the show need not go on. If it must, perhaps it needs to without you! What must go on is much simpler than what's being pressed upon us by our culture (and well-meaning Christians). "What must go on" is that we must encourage our spouses to love and good works, to walk with God (Hebrews 10:24). We must dedicate time to our children so they can learn from us who God is and why we serve Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength (Deuteronomy 6).*
As a simple test of initial perceptions; have your spouse ask your children what you do and what you love. I'm humbled to think of what my children would say. They see me spend a lot of time and focus on my job and the daily details of life. I'm not sure they would initially say that I spend my time serving God. I'm afraid they would see me as a person that runs a boys' home. I hope they would say that I love God and mommy, but they might equally say that I love to take naps, watch TV, spend time at the office, hunt, fish, travel, golf, et. al.
I'm not questioning whether you or I love God. That's for another time. I'm assuming we love God. The question of the moment is two-fold.
1. Do we live like we love God more than the details, pleasures, and duties of our daily life (Deuteronomy 6:4-6)?
2. Do we take the time to communicate that to our spouses and children (Deuteronomy 6:7-9,20-25)?
If, by chance, they miss that, then they miss everything of real value, for eternity!
For more on how to teach our children to love God with their whole being, check out the book Everyday Talk.
Matthew 5:14 is where Jesus says, “Ye are the light of the world.” We say, “amen” and continue on or rededicate ourselves to the task of evangelizing our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the far reaches of our world. Rightly so; we should! But fulfilling the Great Commission is a broad task that is spread among many. We should all pray about it and consider it, but all are not specifically called to go to Judea, Samaria or the farthest corners of the world. We often personalize the commission and refer to “our” Jerusalem where we live. That is also helpful and challenging. I would like to propose that we take another step back and recognize that the great commission includes our families! Our Jerusalem is right where we are, whether that is at the office, at church, out shopping, or in our homes. It is interesting to me that the intimate knowledge of how Dads and Moms and children really live when the front door is closed has profound impact on what those within that home come to believe as true and thus live. Any difference in our teaching and actions when we are on one side of our front door and the other is viewed by others as blatant hypocrisy. Dewey Bertolini, in Escaping the Subtle Sellout, says that “we have a credibility crisis” in our communities. I go further (and I think Bertolini would agree), we have a credibility crisis in our families. As I evaluate my own influence with my children, I get a frog in my throat. Am I a light, a purifying influence, a dispeller of darkness in my own home? Am I living in a way that provokes my children to love God with all their hearts? Am I seeing my children “buy into” the True and the Living God? How about my wife? Is she being purified and enlightened by me? Before you or I can answer these questions, we need to know what God means when He calls us to be light.
Paul, in Ephesians 5:8-9 writes of how, or what we do that makes us “shine” as light in the darkness of our world. He finishes verse eight with, “walk as children of light.” Verse nine defines that walk as a life that is lived as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in that person. That result is a life lived with all goodness, righteousness, and truth. That is the life that shines! What does all goodness, righteousness, and truth mean in the here and now?
Paul’s statement in verses eight and nine is a synopsis statement within his larger explanation (chapters 4-6) of how we are to flesh-out the doctrines taught in the first three chapters of Ephesians. In chapter 4:18-20 Paul refers again to the children of light (those who have been enlightened by Christ to a new way to thinking and living). He then proceeds to tell us about this new way of life (the new man) that is characterized by forgiving, giving, edifying, patience, calmness, honesty, kindness, and tenderheartedness. This is what being light is all about. Chapter 4:32 and 5:1-2 give the definitive example: Christ. We are to love others (even our spouse, even our children, even our parents) like Christ loves them. Period.
Light is explained in Ephesians 4-5 as originating from Christ (5:14), so for us to be light, we must get it from being with Christ (His Word and His Spirit). Light is also the antithesis of darkness. Being light then is being different from those who don’t know Christ. Different in the way we handle life. Different in the way we think. As a father maintains self-control (see temperance in Galatians 5:23, 2 Peter 1:6) when a child spills the milk, or breaks new digital camera. . ., he is a light burning brightly! As a mom answers with a kind voice (see Ephesians 4:29,31-32) when a child (or husband) has “pushed her buttons,” she has dispelled the darkness in her home. As a dad patiently helps his child understand how and why she should be kind to those who don’t give her her way, he becomes the purifying influence that she needs him to be. That dad is light. The mom that answers the phone call from the prodigal daughter can be light by her kind (which may require firmness), tenderhearted, forgiving (Ephesians 4:31-32) spirit. That is being real light, which is a result of walking near THE LIGHT. Being the light is what our families need. If there is darkness there, the need is more light! More light is also what our community needs, and our world. Be that light!
Transfer that thought over to our families. Am I, and are you shining as a bright light within our families?
I can only provoke my children to love God as much as I do!