A few years back we bought a print of a beautifully painted mountain scene. We excitedly made plans to hang it in our home. When purchasing it, we figured you buy a frame and throw it up on the wall and you're done.
How wrong we were. First, we had to find a frame that fit the picture. Then came the discussion of mats. One or two, which color(s), how thick a border, etc., etc. With all the decisions behind us, we hung the print on the wall with new appreciation.
What had started as a nice print, now overflowed in beauty. Details that had blended in now shined boldly. Hardly seemed the same picture.
I often have the same experience with verses of Scripture. Words commonly heard from childhood take on a whole new meaning when framed with a certain situation or struggle.
In reading James 1 a few weeks ago I came upon the saying so common many probably forget it comes from Scripture. "Be slow to speak and quick to listen." Or, maybe the modern paraphrase would say, "You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk."
The mind-frame I walked into this with had to do with some rough days in the parenting realm. I know my voice had risen a notch or two in volume and intensity. Frustration instead of love flashed from my eyes. The result? Certainly not the flooding of God's righteousness in our home.
19Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Muttering "patience is a virtue" only gets you so far when the same child is pushing the same button for hours on end. The change needed to take place deeper. This verse gave me the wake up call that I needed.
This mother's heart passionately wants kids that follow Christ. As they mature, I seek to see God's righteousness maturing in their lives as well. My response, complete with demeaning retorts, would not be helping them there. However, before these verses had always prodded me in relationships with others, more with peers, and I ignored their application with my children.
Take these verses about listening and speaking with deliberateness, and restraining anger into the parenting realm, and they shine with a whole new rainbow of colors. When that child manages to rile me up like no one else can, these verses nudge me a different direction.
Do I want God's righteousness to well up in their lives? Then my anger has no place in this situation.
Amazingly, as I have begun to put this into practice . . . listen more, speak carefully, surrender my anger to God, the kids' responses have changed, too. Instead of driving them away, we pull closer. Instead of escalating hostility, we share the struggle together. I cannot begin to describe the difference this simple reminder has made in my home.
I would not have classified myself as an angry mom before, but everyone's patience ends somewhere, and this verse now meets me at that point.
Thank you, Lord, for old truths with constantly new applications. Thank you for showing me a better way, a way filled with Your love that paves the way to Your righteousness. Help me to continue to walk in it. ~Amen