Have you ever been trying to teach your children something about God and realised that it is you who (still) needs to hear this lesson?
That happened to me the other day.
My children were given a CD of bible songs after our Church Away Day. Hannah, who is now old enough to sit in the front car passenger seat and operate the CD / phone playlist asked to put this CD on. “That’s a good choice,” I thought, “I hope they listen to the words.”
We had some very happy journeys over the summer holidays singing along to the songs and the children doing the actions. [A VAST improvement on the year before when car journeys were a feat of endurance because of the children’s arguments.]
We were driving to a friend’s house, it was hot, we were hungry and late (again); from the back I could hear complaining, squabbling and some of that high pitched-whining which I am sure can only fully register to dogs’ ears.
Feeling fed up, I was about to launch into:
“Stop complaining, stop bickering, don’t you realise how hard I have worked for you, why can’t you just behave for 5 more minutes in the car”
When the words of the song literally made me stop:
“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Maybe if I want to stop my children having a complaining, moaning, whining spirit, maybe if I want them to be grateful and patient, the first place I need to look is my own heart.
The Message translates 1 Corinthians 13 as:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Maybe I need to ask God to fill my heart and my parenting with this kind of Love. His love.
Then the overflow from my heart, will be words that build up, rather than tear down.
Words that point to Jesus. Words of faith, hope and love.