For family devotions this year (or for as long as it takes) my wife and I decided to, as a family, talk about and memorize Colossians 3:12 - 17
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
This morning (mornings work best for us ... currently) we discussed verse 12. We defined and discussed the different character qualities listed. We came to the conclusion that we don't naturally want to do any of these and prayed for God to change our hearts as we follow Him today.
As we finished getting ready and out the door, I already had put today in the "parenting win" column. Then it happened. As we were all climbing into the cars to leave, my wife made a simple request of me to move the garbage after she backed her van out of the garage.. It annoyed me, but I didn't say anything. Then to make matters worse, while I was standing out in the cold waiting for her to move, she came up and wanted a kiss. How dare she!?! Didn't she know I was cold and just wanted to leave? Now I'm waiting longer, in the cold. As my annoyance moved to visible anger it dawned on me what we had just talked about as a family.
It's the last word of verse 12. Patience. I wasn't displaying it because I didn't have it (nor did I want it at that moment). After just talking about the importance of patience less than a half hour before, I was now letting my sin undermine the work the Spirit was trying to do in my heart. I made it all about me, not about how I could serve and love my wife.
My wife experienced it, my kids saw it. What do I do now? The only thing I can do, repent and ask for forgiveness. That's exactly what I did. As she pulled away I prayed and grabbed my phone. She was quick to forgive (as she usually is).
Parents, be teaching your kids the Bible. Pick passages for memorization that you all need to work on. But don't be satisfied with just getting the words in their heads, help to get it in their hearts. Show them the importance in real life. Show them their need for Jesus as they see you relying on Him. Be real, especially about how you fail ... and how Jesus restores.