There are many challenges to parenting. Some of the challenges are innate. What I mean is that it just comes with the territory. Every parent knows there will be days of exhaustion in the battle to teach our offspring the rights and wrongs of this life. Even just the common decency of pleases and thank yous, chewing with one’s mouth closed, and not interrupting one another is often like trying to teach a little puppy to use the bathroom outside instead of on living room floor. The repetitive lessons and talks are happening, and in fine fashion I’m sure, but still, there’s “pee on the carpet” just about every day. “How many times do I have to tell you…” Ever said that? Every parent has. And unfortunately only God knows that number.
That brings me to the point of this blog. The issue of repetitive parental discipline is real and will always be a part of daily life until the day our sweet, wonderful, gifts from God are matured and moved out. I’m convinced that the greater lesson in this issue, though, is not their obedience, but our patience with them. Here’s the crazy part. I know that you agree. The reason I know is because you feel it in your heart of hearts every time you have to say the same thing for the zillionth time and lose it. I know because I’ve done it. I, just like you, have raised my voice in frustration, got angry and said things I wish I hadn’t. I’ve had to repent, say sorry and come clean with the fact that my attitude was the issue more than their disobedience, or at least equally the issue.
Be patient, fellow parents. It’s the heart of Jesus. The principle is at the root of the gospel. If we’re to be gospel-filled homes then we need to pray harder for this that most things. When we pray for patience, though it sounds very specific, it’s also very broad. Think about it. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. And if patience can be mastered in us through our submission to Christ and His word, then imagine what else will flow from this.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Galatians 5:22-23a
There it is, folks. That word, patience, stands out like a sore thumb doesn’t it? Even those best at it will admit he or she needs more if it. Our patience in the Spirit, flowing from us in the most unlikely and often maddening situations, putting out fires of wrath and laying the groundwork for God’s Spirit teach our children through us. I imagine we would all like to see these fruits.
So the next time you give a repeated lesson to your teenager or say the same thing you just said 2 seconds ago to your kindergartner, remember to preach this to yourself. Remember the patience of Christ through the years and years of your just not getting it. Even this very day He is showing patience toward you and absolutely never does he show unnecessary anger. What do we do when we fail? And we will fail. We remember that Jesus, who never rudely interrupted His mother, never back-talked His Father and never so much as thought a sinful thought, died in your place to make you righteous in Him. You are covered by His grace, the very grace that you and I have been called to walk in and that supplies us strength today.