When it comes to building our families we don’t just need good advice, we need wisdom. All of us at one point or another have received advice that we weren’t looking for or didn’t seem to work. I’m thankful that Scripture doesn’t just offer us advice, it actually provides wisdom that we need to build life Jesus’ way.
One area that many people experience challenge in is the area of family. There is no lack of conflict between spouses, parents and kids or even extended family. It is important to remember that the enemy doesn’t want to just discourage your family, he wants to destroy it. Jesus said in John 10:10 that the enemies purpose is to “steal, kill and destroy.”
With this in mind, here are four adjustments to make if we want to build families that last.
1. Instead of control you work towards commitment
So much conflict happens in our relationships because of the issue of control. We want to be right. We want our way. We know how everything should be. Philippians 2:4 calls us to not look out only for our own interests.
Control: I only see my interests
Commitment: I take note of others interests and needs in addition to my own
We must learn to move toward commitment. No matter if it is a spouse to a spouse, a child to a parent, a grandparent to a grandchild, extended family relationship…each individual must make the decision to show up and give 100%. 50/50 relationships don’t work. 50% commitment doesn’t work. Remember when it comes to relationship, 50% is always a failing grade – so work toward commitment.
2. Instead of conflict you work toward communication
James 1:19 calls us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Often in families we can be guilty of reversing this. We want to be heard but we don’t always want to hear. Don’t settle for conflict – work toward true communication.
3. Instead of criticism you work toward compassion
We live in a world and culture that is so easy to embrace a critical spirit. The words that we say to others, about others or to ourselves can often be laced with criticism. Make the adjustment. Criticism will erode the foundation of relationships within family. Compassion will strengthen it.
4. Instead of being consumed you work towards connection
The irony about this point is that you are reading this post on a screen. Nothing is robing relationships and families as much as being consumed by a digital device. We are so easily caught up with what is going on somewhere else. We are locked in to what other people are doing, and often missing the moments that could be happening right where we are at.
I don’t want the image that is etched in my kids minds after I am dead and gone to be of Dad on the couch with his phone. “Man, Dad was really good at scrolling through his instagram feed.” “Dad really knew how to reply fast to every single text message.”
I want them to think about our connection. The memories we made. The relationship we established. The strength that our family has.
I want to encourage you to build life and family Jesus’ way. Commit, communicate, show compassion and fight for connection.
This past week Amber and I talked about this at our weekend gatherings at Life Center. You can see the message in the YouTube link below.