Apparently this quotation is attributed to Francis of Assisi and it is one that I personally think we too frequently overlook. Our actions many times speak much louder than the words we speak and far too often our actions can undercut the Gospel that we preach.
How we treat our wives/husbands and children, other family members and friends and neighbors says an awful lot about what truly resides within us.
Do we take the time to really listen, do we consider their feelings and requirements above our own, do we demonstrate the love and forgiveness that has been showered upon us in our dealings with them?
I’ve learned, through experience, that our home is one of the most difficult mission fields there is. Our home is where we let our hair down, so to speak, giving ourselves a free pass while still requiring the respect and demands that we place on others. In a few days I will have been married for forty eight years. The way I cherish and consider my wife now is radically different from when we first got married. We’ve also raised five children and we now have seven grandchildren. Oh, I could write a book on this one aspect alone. So many mistakes, so many ill thought out decisions. An awful lot of God’s grace has been present in my life.
The wisdom that I see in God’s Word now, especially as it applies on how I should treat others, with a special emphasis on the words that come out of my mouth, are very different now, than they were in my younger days. God’s Word hasn’t changed but I have. A lot of times, when in the past I saw how God’s Word applied to how others should act towards me, the same words now focus more on how I should treat them. There’s been an awful lot of 180’s going on.
So many times husbands focus on rights that are their’s, neglecting the fact that Jesus washed the disciples feet. The examples that Jesus gave to us, stand out in stark contrast to how we too often react towards others. God’s compassion, His patience, His tenderness, need to be exhibited in our homes, with our spouses and with the children that have been placed in our care. One never knows what the new day holds in store for us but I can tell you from long experience, had I spent more time in prayer at the start of the day, away back when, many of the mistakes that I made probably wouldn’t have happened in the numbers that they did. Nice boy, just not too bright.
Of all places, our home is where we least appreciate disrespect and mayhem, or at least I do. And yet, ironically, it’s also the place where I too often least demonstrate the respect and choices of others. You’d almost think there is a lesson here, wouldn’t you?
Too many times we set up ourselves for failure. We don’t listen, we don’t consider their perspective, we don’t consider their limitations or their experience with life. We are the example for our spouses, we are the example for our children and our friends and neighbors. We’re supposed to be the “light”. You can’t shine if your not connected to the source.
They say (whoever “they” are), that youth is wasted on the young. It’s so easy to see the mistakes our grandchildren are making. It’s so easy to understand the motivations behind their actions. Love them. Hug them. Show them you care. They run to our arms because “Papa” and “Nanny” love them and they know it. We as grandparents, aren’t responsible for their discipline. Too easy! What’s not to love about that! My wife and I LOVE being grandparents. It is such a blessing.
And yet, the joy of this experience reminds me that God in His wisdom, knew all about the many mistakes that I would make along the way and as I near the end of my journey, I think He smiles at what I have learned. The love that I feel in my heart towards Him, my wife, our children and grandchildren plus others, flows from Him. And the kicker is, it’s always been there, I just didn’t understand it like I do now. And please note, I’ve only just scratched the surface.
Jesus said in John 15:5 NIV “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
I should have had that verse tattooed on my forehead (yes, I know, tattoos are a no no).
Show love, hug, reassure with kind and thoughtful words, do for others whenever there is an opportunity, especially to your wife or husband and your children.
I could have done so much better with more of Jesus, but I didn’t understand how much I truly needed Him. Lip service doesn’t accomplish all that much. And therein lies the problem.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!