Perhaps you have heard someone say (or maybe you have said it yourself), “My spouse is great at church, but at home they are a beast to live with!”
Or maybe, “My parents are thought of by their friends as fun-loving and very good people, but at home they yell, curse, and swear at each other and at us kids!”
Or yet another one, “My spouse is outstanding in their co-worker and professional relationships at work, but at home with the family they are short-tempered, verbally cruel, and physically abusive of all of us.”
Why is it that we as humans have a propensity to give strangers and friends the best of our attitudes, but we give our families the worst of our attitudes? This should not be!
“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
~ James 3:10-13
I dare say, we will be evaluated by God not by the best that we give to others, but by the WORST that we give to others. Our good attitudes do not counter-balance our bad attitudes in the scales of Heaven. We hope that God will reward us for how kind we are to fellow church goers, co-workers, neighbors, and strangers. However, our insensitive or cruel treatment of our own family destroys whatever merit we think we might have gained with God.
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
~ 1 Timothy 5:8
That which we provide for our families is not just financial and material. We also provide kindness, grace, sincerity, self-control, and genuine love to the core! We provide an atmosphere for the home that is peaceful with a sense of emotional security and unconditional love.
I doubt anyone is perfect in this, and I certainly am not. But, over the years I have learned and changed enough to feel that I can sound this call without my being a hypocrite in God’s eyes. Let us bring into our homes and into our families the very best attitudes that our lives can generate. Let’s stay on our knees in daily prayer, pleading with God for His grace to continue to flow into us so that we can continue to be transformed, and continue to ALWAYS have our best flow freely to ALL of those around us.
My family deserves my best. My wife deserves my best. Not because of their perfection (anymore than their imperfection deserves my imperfection in return), but because of God’s call for each of us to love each other with His kind of love.
May our home be where our absolute best is provided to every family member. This will certainly please them, and it will definitely please God!
(Thanks for reading. I know this subject can be a real toe stomper.)