As I read this chapter one morning recently, I began to think, "How do I tear down the house (family) I am trying to build?" There are four areas, for me, that I identified as potential threats to building the kind of house that honors and blesses God and others:
- Anger. Those who live with me (and few others, I suspect) are well aware of my propensity to anger, and while "righteous" anger is biblically defensible, mine is not, no matter self-righteous I might feel at the time. My anger toward those who inconvenience me or thwart my plans injure my relationships with my husband and children, grieve Christ, and threaten to reflect the life of a Christian as that of a hypocrite. And all that - for what? There is no way that I have been offended or put upon that I haven't done to someone else, or more importantly, to God Himself. He has so freely forgiven me, how can I refuse to forgive someone else?
- Impatience. When I make a request or give a direction, I want it done yesternow. Again, my need for efficiency and ease turns my home into an army boot camp, not a place where people are cared for and encouraged toward growth in Christ. And while I might defend my impatience with the idea that I'm impatient with the behavior and not the person, it's the person that gets the dubious "benefit" of my ire.
- Selfishness. It's all about me. You knew that, right? Well, apparently, not everyone does, because some people around here have the audacity to need something from me when it doesn't suit me. Sometimes children injure themselves or get sick when I had important plans. And sometimes, sometimes, someone needs me to get up out of my chair just as soon as I've sat down. Happen to you? Yet when I mistakenly work on the assumption that it's all about me and my plan, I miss opportunities to serve my family and be blessed in serving them. I also miss the blessing of being served by them, since I act as if I already deserve their kindness to me.
- Pride. Somehow, this seems to be the heart of all the other stuff, the sin from which all the other sins find their beginnings. I think I know the best, or see the issue clearly, or simply shouldn't have to deal with my family's "issues" because I have better or more important things to do. And I forget - this is why I'm here, in this family, with these children. I'm here to bring the truth of the Gospel to bear on my family's life, and I cannot do that if I insist on presuming that I'm above it all.
So, what do I do about all this? How do I continue to pursue wisdom in building this house, rather than giving way to folly? To be sure, I'm still working this and will continue to work on it until Heaven. For now, though, the need for the sturdy disciplines of Bible reading, continuous prayer and Christian accountability are so important. Bible reading informs my mind with the revealed mind of God, prayer postures my needy heart before a powerful God, and Christian accountability makes the burden shared and the need taken seriously.
I want to be wise. I want to build my house as an altar to the Lord. I don't want to tear it down, wounding the people within, so I must commit myself to the hard and humbling work of submitting my will and plans before the Lord and allowing Him to change them, for my good and His glory.