Someone almost crashed into me the other day. He pulled out right in front of me and I had to swerve to avoid hitting him. I didn’t curse or gesture at him. I was just relieved to have avoided the accident. However, when I looked over at him he was foaming at the mouth, face flushed and contorted with anger, and he was yelling at me through his window. The nerve! He should be thanking me and apologizing. It’s hard enough to tolerate people’s stupidity without them turning the tables on you like that.
Do you ever feel like that with your kids? Like all you’ve ever done is love them and help them and sacrifice for them, and you get back disobedience or disrespect in return? It can be infuriating! We are entitled to have them obey and respect us and love us, right?! Isn’t that what the Bible says, “Honor your father and mother,” “Children obey your parents?”
Let me tell you what hard pill the Lord has had me swallowing these days. He’s been teaching me to stop thinking about what I’m entitled to and start thinking about what I’m called to.
We live in a society and culture that says we have rights. As the Constitution puts it, “inalienable rights.” In fact, lots of the current political turmoil we face is over someone’s right to have or do something.
God calls us, as his children, to a better place. He calls us to lay down our rights and serve others. It’s what Jesus did for us. 1 Peter 2:19-23 says:
“For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. . . if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. . . When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Sometimes, as parents, we do a lot of good for our children and end up suffering very unjustly for it. God calls us to bear up under this and endure it. He doesn’t want us to retaliate or lash out in anger at our children. No, he wants us to love them and entrust ourselves to him.
This doesn’t mean that we allow our children to be disobedient or disrespectful. No, never! What it does mean is that we quelch that, “How dare you!” attitude and bring the loving, firm, and consistent discipline that they need. We bear and endure the unjust treatment they are flinging our way. We don’t fling anger and rage back in their direction. We correct with the utmost patience, gentleness and kindness of our Savior. This is what we are called to.
Everytime I feel upset because the kids have turned those tables on me, I need to remind myself to stop thinking about what I’m entitled to and start thinking about what I’m called to.