(The following is the second article in a 4-part series “SAFE At Home.” In June of this year we began by addressing the top ten issues facing families today and hit upon “Family Communication.” Then I decided to take a slight detour and to focus upon four ways a husband/father can improve his family’s communication.
Last month it was “Serve!” This month is “Accept!” and we will finish the year off with “Forgive!” and “Encourage!”)
As I write this I am sitting at the Milan Airport with my lovely wife Cindy after a 10 day tour through the lakes area of northern Italy where our main focus was gardens. Since I’m not a gardener, but my wife is, as we joined a group of about a dozen avid gardeners, the trip gave me an opportunity of move out of my comfort zone and appreciate more of what my wife loves and to grow in the whole area of ACCEPTANCE.
One of the places we stayed, the touristy but beautiful town of Sirmione, featured a contemporary of Julius Ceasar, a poet named Gaius Cassula. One of his poems was very short and went like this in Latin, “I love and I hate.” If that was all that Cassula had written I don’t think that would exactly qualify him as a “poet.” I mean, I think I could have come up with that literary gem.
But there is a powerful truth about us men in those very few words. We love (accept) and we hate (reject), a choice we make with our family members every day. Tony Campolo, an Italian-American Christian leader, has a great quote, “Each of us comes into the world with a predisposition to live in such a way to inflict pain on those who love us most, and offend the God who cares for us infinitely.”
Our trip provided me a real opportunity to focus on this truth. Without going into detail about my attitude on this trip, let’s just say that I was able to personally experience this truth and I found myself crying out to the Lord for Him to make a change of heart in me. I discovered that I was born without the “flower appreciation gene” and could only fake my interest in gardens for about two or three days. At a certain point, through personal prayer, and the prayers of a couple of good friends, I was able to experience a turn around, thankfully.
I really don’t like to be the illustration for my articles, but I do get a real “personal feel” for the importance of applying these principles when I get myself in these situations. Here are a couple of temptations I found I needed to resist:
-to assign blame and justify my rejection as appropriate and and demand that
Cindy change to fit MY expectations;
-to be ashamed that I was struggling and to try to battle through this alone
without the prayers of a few trusted friends.
I realized that I couldn’t do it alone. I needed God’s power in my weakness and Him working through the prayers of my friends. It was so encouraging to feel the power of prayer and actually experience my heart change. How about you? One of the things that we need to know is that we are not alone in our struggle to be “SAFE” at home. I would love to hear from you; feel free to respond anonymously.