Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Quiet Retreat: Thoughts on Sibling Bickering Part 1

After my hike, I headed to my usual spot on the Castle Terrace. It was empty and quiet when I arrived and very inviting with sunlight filtering through trees, the dishware of the Tea wafting through open windows and the trickle of water from the fountain nearby. But shortly after sitting down, a group arrived and I struggled to concentrate - so I moved to yet another spot next to the creek. The water moving provided a lovely natural noise barrier to other things going on around and also a peaceful sound to sit quietly with.

One of the things I really wanted to spend some time thinking through was how to handle little arguments and bickering between my children. My children are just like yours and all other children everywhere and even me when I was a child. They don't always get along with their siblings!

As their mom and one who helps to lead and shape them, I have felt very inadequate lately at how to respond to this. I know that these moments are golden in how I respond and I want to utilize them wisely to help them learn and grow. Often in the face of another disagreement, I find myself almost paralyzed. I take a deep breath and pray for wisdom and then sort of fumble my way through it. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and shut down - another disagreement?

So while I had some time alone to process, I really wanted to ask God about this - how should I be handling it? What is the lesson here? How can I be more effective as a mother in discipling these souls in my care?

Before church, I did a quick search online for suggested Scripture to use in guiding my time of processing this dilemma. One verse that came up quickly was Ephesians 4:29-32,

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."

So first of all, I dug into these verses:

- v. 29: let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for:
* building up
* fitting for the occasion
* full of grace

- v. 30: the very next thought expressed is that we not grieve the Holy Spirit; think of what we have received from Him and how our response should be to live a life set apart for Him as much as possible.

- v. 31: get rid of the following:
* bitterness
* wrath
* anger
* clamor
* slander
* malice

Consider how Jesus did not tattle on others or try to get them in trouble and He did not wear Himself out trying to defend Himself. He spoke TRUTH and He offered forgiveness. Keep in mind truth is not an invitation to say what you want to get it off your chest - truth is God's Word.

As I was thinking about this - a couple more verses came to mind:

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Teach my children how to give the Phil. 4:8 test:
- is it true?
- is it noble?
- is it right?
- is it lovely?
- is it admirable?
- is it excellent?
- is it praiseworthy?

Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Romans 12:18, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." 

Luke 6:45, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." 

Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without complaining and arguing."

- v. 32 {now back to Ephesians 4}: replacement theology - we saw in verse 29 what to get rid of and now we see what to put on:
* be kind to one another
* tenderhearted
* forgiving one another
* follow Christ's example

Think of this: what has God forgiven me for? How would He respond? In fact, I just looked down at Ephesians 5:1 {the very next verse} and it says, "Be imitators of God, as beloved children." And verse 2 begins with "walk in love."

Be a fragrance/an aroma of Christ's presence in our hearts.

Ok, one more passage for today:

Mark 8:11-13, "The Pharisees came and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from Heaven to test Him. And He sighed deeply in His spirit and said, 'Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.' And He left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side."

I really appreciated coming across this passage. Jesus is dealing with arguing! Yes, please show me how to handle it! I take a couple of simple things away from these verses:

* Jesus sighed deeply {I envision this like a deep breath - you know the kind like you are trying not to say something you shouldn't!?} and the best part is that we know He never sinned. So while He may have been frustrated or aggravated, He did not sin. He took a deep breath - a pause.

* Jesus replied simply: He did not get caught in an hour long debate or discussion over the matter. He questioned their lack of faith and simply said no. The end. I can learn from this not to drag the matter out longer than necessary especially needing to consider if my audience is even receptive at the moment. Keep it short and to the point addressing the heart if possible.

* Jesus left: again He did not belabor the moment, short and sweet and then on His way. I get so emotionally involved in trying to handle these situations that it is hard for me to keep it short or to walk away but what an example.

Now that we've taken all that in, let's consider how to practically apply. That part is coming Thursday!

Side note: I wonder sometimes what to share here and what to keep in my journal, but the bottom line for me comes when I think of my children as adults and parents reading through these thoughts of my heart. I want them to know me, to know the struggles and realities of what I've gone through and if they can learn something from this and it helps or encourages them in any way then it is a success to me and why I share.

So how do you handle arguing in your home?


Mrs. Chrissy T said...

"Keep in mind truth is not an invitation to say what you want to get it off your chest - truth is God's Word."
This statement above...wow! That could be a lesson for all kinds of things.

On the main topic I just kind of deal with it and move on. I train, teach, and correct but I have learned the hard way to just correct and move on. Most of the times it works out and others I have to discipline. I give them grace to try to work it out but also will not allow it to be down right ugly and linger. I also think that God knows my heart and as long as I am trying to invest and teach them He will make up the rest.

Anonymous said...

Such great timing! I was just talking to my children yesterday about this and I was using 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. Also verse 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

As I read through your post today and read in my own Bible, the Lord really brought it home to my own heart in some things I have been dealing with and negative thoughts. So thankful He is growing us all and thankful for His Word to guide us.

Blessings to you friend!
Amanda H