I am the father of 6 children, ages 3 – 19. There is a lot of personal interaction in our house, as you might imagine. I can’t count how many times in the last month I have asked someone, “Now think about what you just said/did. Was that really nice?”
I’m not going to back away from that at all. I insist on treating one another with courtesy and respect. I believe that is a biblical concept.
However, in light of these verses, I have been wondering if I am conditioning my family, and even myself to be shallow and hypocritical with others.
(8) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
(9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
(10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Now that I have you thoroughly confused. . . :)
I am thinking of verse 9. How many times do we say the “nice” thing and avoid the truth? How many times do I send a grumpy little girl across the room to her sister with this instruction, “Now that wasn’t nice. You tell your sister you are sorry.” So to avoid consequences with me, they grumble “sorry” and stomp off. Anyone can see that they aren’t sorry. Am I teaching them to lie to one another, because it is the “nice” thing to do?
So I posed this question in a text to several friends and family the other day:
“Have been thinking about verse 9. When we love one another, we do not lie to each other. Sometimes we think it is being nice to someone to not work things out, but really we have just defined how deep the friendship is. Just my pondering. What do you think?”
I got this response from my Dad:
“Relationships are built on TRUTH. Christ is TRUTH. If we don’t speak truth to one another, we can’t trust or be trusted.”
So does this mean I just have to sit back and watch rudeness in my children for the sake of honesty? I think not. I think the secret lies in being committed to each other through the truth, and learning to communicate toward a resolution. We need to learn to express love and commitment, while at the same time communicating the unpleasant things that need to be said.
I have to learn this attitude myself in order to model it, and then teach it to my children.
The Simple Guy
This might not be a new thought to some of you. Have you learned anything in this area that you think might be helpful?