Q: My husband and I have recently become aware that much of our two teenagers’ argumentative spirit seems to be in some ways a result of our own opinionated perspectives. While we all profess to love Christ and each other, our family is always bickering and irritated with one another. How can we change this?
A: I wish all parents would be willing to own that their children are often mimicking and/or reacting against their own foibles, character flaws and patterns of relational sinfulness. Thanks for your honesty!
Let me suggest that your family set a common goal in the coming year to become a more humble family. When marriages and families are marked by humility, persons see themselves as gifted yet unworthy, highly valued yet no more so than others. Such families place others needs higher than their own and become servants, not because of any command or approval sought from humans, but out of a desire to be a different kind of man or woman who is a lifelong apprentice of Jesus. Apprenticeship under Jesus means that He tutors us in learning that loving God and others is the supreme quest of this brief “pre-life” training camp that we have before graduating into “The Life” that eternity will bring.
If Christian marriages and families exist to honor Christ, demonstrate His love for His people, model what relationships in the church should look like, and to help us train to be better lovers, then how shall we train? Following are a few suggestions on pursuing humility:
– Practice the discipline of saying “I’m sorry”
– Practice the discipline of withholding your opinion and critique
– Practice the discipline of swallowing the desire to make a play for attention
– Practice the discipline of listening more than you speak
– Practice the discipline of catching others doing something right and praising them
– Practice the discipline of serving
– Practice the discipline of doing good secretly
I Peter 5:5 is an apt reminder to “clothes yourselves in humility.” Humble families are healthy families!