It is very hurtful and damaging to keep harping on a matter that should have been resolved a long time ago. If you’re the spouse doing the harping, come to terms with the offense yourself and let it go through love and forgiveness. That’s how you deal with it righteously according to God‘s word. Cast the care of it over onto Jesus and you rest in peace. Don’t be the cause for your spouse to become emotionally weary.
The scripture in Proverbs 17:9 says, (paraphrase), ‘when you keep harping on a matter, it separates and causes division between even close friends.’ This is talking about friends outside the home as well as friends inside the home. Husbands and wives need to cultivate their relationship in the ways of the Lord and become “best friends.” After all, becoming friends is getting to know one another intimately by spending quality time together. Isn’t this the way your relationship began in the first place?
Proverbs 21:23, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps HIMSELF from troubles.”
Well now, isn’t that an eye opener? Remember, Proverbs 18:21 says, ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Many people have a hard time keeping their mouth shut. They just seem to enjoy expressing negative things every chance they get. When you do this, the seed you sow with your mouth will produce a harvest in your life. It is God’s fixed law of sowing and reaping, whereby we will eat the fruit of our words whether the seed we sowed was bad or good seed.
I can’t stress strongly enough that as God’s word is seed, so are our words seed and if we will guard our mouths and sow good seed, then we won’t reap a bad (destructive) harvest. We will reap a harvest of blessings. Amen. We won’t have troubles of all kinds coming back on us so often. Jesus said, testing’s and trials would come while we’re here on this earth, but we don’t have to get in there with our lethal mouths, loaded for bear, and help trouble come. We need to do as David did when he asked God to put a watch over his mouth (Psalm 141:3). It would be wise for us to do the same and be sure to sow good seeds of faith so we can reap a harvest of blessing. Praise the Lord!
The Future Generations:
Then, there are the children sent as good gifts from the Father. In our modern times today, what are the children being taught in our schools? What are they learning that is of real value and worth? What are they learning from the parents? It’s a natural fact that children imitate what they see their parents do and say in relation to God and other people.
When I was growing up, I wanted to imitate my daddy who smoked cigarettes. I thought it would be real smart to do as daddy did in this. When my first cousin and her parents would visit mine, when our daddy’s would go outside to talk and smoke, she and I (we’re same age) would follow them. When they threw down their cigarette butts and weren't looking, we would grab them up and try to smoke. We were barely 10 years old at the time. We thought that it must be okay to smoke, after all, our daddy’s did it. Of course, it wasn’t okay and later in life she and I both had problems with cigarettes. I was delivered and set free from smoking later on but unfortunately my cousin still smokes.
Ephesians 5:1, “Be imitators of God (copy Him and follow His example), as well-beloved children (imitate their fathers).”
Jesus said Himself, that He didn’t do anything except what He saw the Father do. If we will imitate our heavenly Father, doing only what we see Him doing from His word, then our children will have a good example in us to imitate, spiritually, ethically and morally. Amen. Even Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ.
A lot of children and teenagers today are in serious trouble emotionally and relationally. Many are out of control and are on a path of sure destruction. Its been this way down through the ages but it has escalated generation after generation until today, we see an increase of teen suicide, kids killing parents and whole families, etc. Young men going on raping and killing sprees. Young children are being kidnapped so often you can’t keep up and often, they are murdered and thrown away like a piece of garbage. No, this doesn’t describe all of our young people, thank God, but it does describe more of them than we would like to think or admit to.
We’ve been talking about abusive verbal attacks that has dealt mainly with the grown-up’s, but now days, children and teens often come to their parents loaded for bear. Young men in their teens and older, often associating with the wrong people and if provoked will physically abuse their mother or siblings. Sometimes, their father as well. Again, don’t misunderstand me, this scene and one’s like it does not describe all of our young people. There is a real move of God today by His Spirit among our young people and I say, glory hallelujah! Praise God! Let the glory spread to all our young people like wildfire!
While there is an outbreak of the Spirit among a lot of our young people all across this nation, and thank God for it---what about those I spoke of earlier? What about them? And where did it all start? It doesn’t start in the church. It doesn’t start in the school, or even in the streets. It starts at home with the parents whom God calls to ‘train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’
A lot of times when children, regardless of age, comes to you loaded for bear with verbal abuse, it’s a cover up for what is really bothering them. Remember? You have to pause a moment and look BEHIND the double load they may have shot so you can better understand what they’re truly saying. Just as it is with a husband and wife, your son or daughter, bottom line is after your undivided attention. They want to know that they are important to you. They are after your attention because of a deep need in their soul to be loved and accepted. This doesn’t mean that you excuse the wrong behavior but you DO embrace that son or daughter in love and acceptance of who God created them to be. That child was an individual being before they were ever sent to earth from Father God as a ‘gift’ to you.
Children of all ages, even the grown up children, they all have this same need for love and acceptance from their parents. They want to be accepted for who God created them to be because everyone is ‘wired’ differently, if you will and God plans to use their differences for His Kingdom purposes. (I’m not talking about people who are dealing with gender identity issues, that’s another topic). I’m talking about those who are called to be missionaries to go overseas to some remote village. Or those who are called as inventers, or into the space programs, or archeology going on digs around the world, as well as preaching the gospel all over to people who haven‘t heard the name Jesus.
Our children, young or older, has the same need as we do, in that we all want to be listened to and understood. Our children need our caring, our hugs, our encouragement in persuing their God given purpose in life, and they most definitely need our love. They also need our time and attention, our wisdom and our correction when it is needed.
Several years ago, I was standing in line at the grocery check out when two women and a little girl came up behind me. The little girl looked to be about five or six years old. The women weren’t paying attention to anyone or anything as they were deeply engaged in conversation. I was standing in line minding my own business and waiting to have my groceries checked so I could pay and go home.
Since the women were busy talking, this left the little girl to her own devices. She had hold of the empty cart (groceries were on the conveyor) and stood watching me like a cat watching a canary before attacking. After a bit, she purposely pushed the cart against me. Now, I could say that I was standing there all holy and spiritual thinking, ‘bless this child.’ The truth is, I wanted to ring her cute little neck!
Instead and without saying a word, I took hold of the cart and moved it off me and back toward her. Also, I moved over to put more distance between myself and this little five year old Rambo. Not more than two seconds after I had done this, the little girl looked straight at me and as before, deliberately shoved the cart into my leg. And yes, it did hurt a bit. I felt myself getting upset as I wondered why these women were not keeping up with this wild child? They turned around just in time to see me move the cart off me and move it back toward the little girl.
I wanted to load my shotgun and let them have it with both barrels. I wanted to say, what’s the matter with you? What kind of mother are you? Don’t you care that you have a vicious child on your hands who wants to hurt people? Maybe you need to lock her up somewhere. These two women huffed and they puffed and got upset with me, saying things they shouldn’t because they thought I had hurt the child. I didn’t say anything back to either of the women but my flesh was having a screaming-meamie fit to give the mother a piece of my mind.
The reason I didn’t is because the Holy Spirit told me to keep quiet. Don’t say anything. Nothing! Not one word! Meanwhile, I felt like my lips were glued together and under my breath I’m saying in protest, “Ummmmm!” You’re just steaming to unload, but Holy Spirit says again, “Not one word out of your mouth.” In obedience, I kept quiet.
After the women got upset with me, they moved to the next check out, which was okay with me. Because I was obedient to get my heart right and do as Holy Spirit said, before I left the store, my upset was gone and I had peace. I had learned a little more about obedience and self-control. I learned that had I unloaded both barrels on these people, I would have ended up saying words that would have polluted their souls as well as mine. I would have sown some bad seed that I would have reaped a harvest off of later.
Plus, I would have ended up looking as foolish as those women did when they showed their upset and said some things they shouldn’t have. I learned a little more of what it means to be IN the world but not OF the world---not to act as they do. No way does God mean for us to lay down and be anyone’s doormat for people to use and abuse but we are expected to show Jesus to the world by doing as He did. He trusted Himself to the Father. If we don’t show Jesus to the world, how will they know that He is love, that He is the way, the truth and the life? They won’t. So, let us all demonstrate the royal law of the Kingdom of God---love.
No doubt about it, what the little girl did was a wrong thing to do to another person, whether to a child or to an adult. It was rude and disrespectful behavior and like I said earlier, children imitate their parents and others. Its possible that the little girl had learned this behavior from her parents because she saw them being this way with each other and with other people. If at the same age as this child, I had behaved in public to someone like she did, my daddy would have taken me outside and applied the rule of wisdom to my backside. It would have worked too. It had before.
The biggest responsibility for a child’s behavior during their growing up years is the parents. It is not someone else’s responsibility. God made parents accountable for the way they raise their children. It’s also important to remember that no matter how many times it is said, children imitate their parents inter-actions, then they practice it on each other first, then with others.
Ephesians 6:4, “And you father’s, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” This scripture also applies to mothers as well.
Proverbs 23:13-14, “Withhold not discipline from the child, for if you strike and punish him with the (reedlike) rod, he will not die.”
14-You shall whip him with the rod and deliver his soul from sheol (hades, the place of the dead).”
It is sad to say, but a low percentage of children in today’s homes and in society are being taught to have honor, respect and integrity. Instead, they are learning how to be obnoxious, disobedient and disrespectful children who are unpleasant to be around. If they continue in this kind of behavior, they will become obnoxious and disrespectful adults that others avoid. They will experience problems in their inter-actions with people from all walks of life. It will especially be evident in close and personal relationships.
Children are not born knowing how to honor and respect their parents and other people. It has to be taught to them, not just by telling them to be this way but by demonstrating it in the home with family members and outside the home with all other people. We are to nurture and train up our children in the admonition of the Lord, teaching them to honor God first, then parents, then others.
Ephesians 6:3 (AB), “Children, obey your parents in the Lord (as His representatives), for this is just and right. Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and mother, this is the first commandment with promise, that all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”
It bears repeating, for children to learn honor and respect, they have to be taught the word of instruction and then by parents demonstrating the lessons before them. In all fairness to parents (I’m a parent myself), many father’s and mother’s, because of their own backgrounds, they don’t know how to train up their children righteously. At the time of raising their children, they may believe they are doing what is right, when in fact, their teaching methods are wrong. We learn by trial and error. The ideal thing is to stay willing to learn God’s way of doing things according to His word and follow it for ourselves and
for the sake of our children.
When children are after your attention, they may use verbal abuse to send the message, “Daddy, Mama, notice ME. Really LOOK at me! I have things going on inside of me that I don’t understand. I’m scared!” If children can’t get your attention this way, they will usually try something else. It may begin with lying about things that are designed to get you to notice them, even if your attention is negative.
If the real problem underneath the lying is not recognized and dealt with through God’s word, through His love, through wisdom, understanding and your authority as a parent, the devil will slip a noose of habitual lying around that child’s neck and bind him in a stronghold. I have seen this happen before and it brought devastation to both the child and the parents. If this stronghold is not broken by the power of God’s anointing (Isaiah 10:27), the child may go from petty stealing to serious armed robbery and be swallowed up in the prison system. This doesn’t happen to all but it does happen to more kids than it should.
Children will use many things to get a parents attention. To get their acceptance and approval, even if they go about it in the wrong way. They just know there is something on the inside of them that doesn’t feel quite right. As a child, they are growing and changing from a baby to a toddler. From a toddler to school age, then as a teenager and on into adulthood. During the process, there are questions they need to bring out in the open and have the parents supply sound and reasonable answers to give them understanding.
Many times, the lines of communication between parents and children are disconnected through abusive criticism from the parent(s) until the child is afraid to come to the parents with their questions. Therefore, no matter how many signals of distress the child (teenager) sends out, the message often doesn’t get through. Sadly, this happens everyday in families all across this nation. The cries of many of our children, our teens and young adults are going forth but are they being heard?
A child has a deep need in their soul but many times they are not sure what to call it. On the one hand, in lying they may know that its telling something that isn‘t the truth, but on the other hand, they may not understand WHY they are consistently lying to their parents. Or why they are consistently stealing everything in sight. Or why they like to set things on fire. Or why they enjoy beating up their siblings, or those at school, gaining the reputation of being a ‘bully.’ If parents will stop a moment and probe beneath the surface behavior of their son or daughter to get to the real problem and need---address it with love and patience, understanding and forgiveness, you will help eliminate the abusive behavior. They have been loaded for bear but you can help them unload the shotgun. Amen.
Progressive Blame and Accusation:
Going back to what I said earlier, the first thing husbands and wives, parents and children want to do when there is a wrong is to verbally attack through blame and accusation. A husband or a wife says to the other one, a parent says to their son or daughter:
“WHY did you DO such a thing? If you had half a BRAIN, you’d fly upside down! What a STUPID thing to do!”
Making this kind of statement to your spouse or your child says plainly that there is no explanation they can give that would be good enough for you to accept. Therefore, you are conveying the message, ‘you are unacceptable.’ Keep in mind that this applies to all adult children as well, regardless of age. God calls us children, not grown-up’s.
In the statement above, you as a husband, a wife, or a parent have also told your loved one that you think they have little or no intelligence. They hear you say, “You’re dumb and stupid. You can‘t do anything right” The very first thing husbands and wives and parents should do before they unload that double barrel shotgun is to pray. Humble yourselves and seek God’s wisdom. Ask for His direction to know exactly what to look for behind surface behavior and what to do and say after that.
James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraids (scolds) not; and it shall be given him.” You ask in faith.
When you talk with your spouse or your child, arm yourself with the wisdom of the Lord, because you are in spiritual warfare with an unseen enemy.
II Cor.10:4, ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds.”
Therefore, in the name of Jesus and by faith, start pulling down those strongholds in your home and family relationships. Unfortunately, many husbands and wives and parents don’t do this and they experience devastation instead. If your son or daughter has tried countless times to get your undivided attention and their efforts have failed, they will continue trying. Each attempt to get you to notice them may become a little more desperate. For their sake and your’s, don’t be too busy to notice.
Two and three year olds don’t commit suicide. Four year olds don’t run away from home and end up standing on street corners selling themselves for drugs. But pre-teens and teenagers do. It is a shocking and devastating thing for parents to learn that their son or daughter has killed themselves. Or that they have run away from home and they‘re on the streets. It is shocking as well as a hard thing to have to face, but at least, through suicide, this last desperate attempt succeeded in finally getting the parents undivided attention.
No one get’s to this point of desperation over night. It happens over a progression of time from birth until that son or daughter leaves home to make their own way in the world. When they are toddler’s, you have time to build a bridge of communication to help keep any future gaps from happening. Children need to be brought up in a home that is flowing with God’s love and kindness being practiced by the parents with each other. Again, the parents set a positive and loving example, or a negative and abusively critical example before their children.
Change the Environment:
A lot of homes in America today have become little more than war zones where many parents don’t hold back in being abusive, both verbally and sometimes physically in front of their children. This is a most unhealthy environment for children to grow up in where they hear parents arguing, blaming and accusing each other. Then, turn around and verbally abuse them through blame and accusation for this and that.
All this does is weaken a child’s security in both the parents, and in the whole structure of the family unit. This kind of environment will only help to instill fear into their young minds. Nothing is more unsettling to a child than to see mama and daddy angry and arguing with each other. The child may think, ‘if daddy and mama don’t love each other, maybe they don’t love me either.’ Through the wisdom and grace of God, parents can choose to help their children feel loved and secure. Even in times of correction.
Sometimes, parents don’t stop to think that their children also needs to be respected for the individuals they were created of God to be. When I was growing up, the motto for children was, “be seen and not heard.” The message conveyed was, as children we had no important place in the family but rather our presence was tolerated. Therefore, ‘be seen and not heard.’ This has changed a lot today as kids talk over their parents. Though it was tough at times for us back then growing up, it did teach us to learn respect for our elders.
When our children (regardless of age) are trying to tell us something that is important to them, parents need to see that child as an individual person. Not as something you own and who is to be seen and not heard. He or she deserves to be listened to. Even if what they have to say doesn’t make a lot of sense, the main thing is to keep the communication lines open so that as they grow and have bigger problems, they won’t be afraid to come and talk to you. They will learn to trust that you won’t criticize and cause them to feel foolish when they express their heart. Don’t we want the same things as adults in all our relationships? Especially our marriages? Absolutely!
If your child is in the middle of telling you something that is important to them, you should no more be rude and interrupt them than you would another adult. This doesn’t mean that your child should have the run of the conversation and be able to say things that wouldn’t be appropriate. Nor should they be allowed to interrupt you when you’re in
conversation with someone, unless it’s an emergency.
How many times in the Bible does God tell us that when we call upon Him, He hears us? He listens to our hearts cry? His ears are open to the righteous. He has promised, “Call upon Me and I will answer you.” Our heavenly Father listens to us because we are important to Him. I can’t stress how vital it is that we truly learn to LISTEN to each other with our hearts and not just with our emotions because our emotions can deceive us.
Neither be planning what you’re going to say next in the conversation with your spouse because you think what you have to say is more important than what they are saying at present. If you habitually do this, then you are operating in self-righteous pride and you are only half listening to your family. This is why there are so many misunderstandings in the marriage relationship. Also between parents and children.
We need to make the quality decision to give our mates and our children our undivided attention because we love them and we want to honor them as we honor the Lord. If your young son or daughter came home from school and they had something they thought was important and they wanted to tell you all about it, what would you do? Or if you ask your child what they did in school on this particular day, be prepared to listen to them tell you. Give your son or daughter your undivided attention.
Don’t allow frivolous distractions to pull you away from them and into another direction. They will feel cut off and rejected. They will feel unimportant to you. Unless your car is on fire outside, ignore all distractions and stay focused on your child (or your mate). In the meantime, your child may begin telling you about a frog his friend brought to school and how it got loose in class. Now is not the time to interrupt and remind him to get washed up for dinner. He will feel hurt and rejected. He may also wonder why you asked about school if you didn’t really want to know.
Instead of cutting him off midway through his story, let him know you’re interested in what he’s saying. Don’t respond to him with a ho-hum attitude that says, ‘you’re boring me.’ Share his excitement and laughter, giving him direct eye contact while interjecting positive responses that says, ‘tell me more.’ This same principal applies to husbands and wives during communication. It just plain makes you feel good, doesn’t it, to know someone is REALLY listening to you? Amen.
By truly listening, the message you will convey to your child or your spouse will be, “You’re important enough and interesting enough to capture and hold my attention.” In the case with your child, when he’s finished with the story, now is the appropriate time to tell him to ready himself for dinner. Instead of walking away feeling troubled in his soul, wondering why he’s not important to you, he will feel peaceful in his soul. He will feel loved and accepted by you and this makes for an outward show of a joyful child. Again, the same principals applies to husbands and wives.
It is a wonderful and encouraging thing to know we are important to God. That we can be secure in Father’s unconditional love and have His undivided attention when we want to relate our day to Him. It is also encouraging when we’re made to feel important to our spouses and they give us their undivided attention, as we give it back in return. It’s also true when its practiced between parents and children instead of giving them abusive and unnecessary criticisms.
This brings us back to respect and honor. In Proverbs 22:6 when God said, ‘train up children,’ He was saying, coach them. Get them accustomed to the word and the principles of God. Instruct them with love and patience. Usually the standard notion for parents and children is---children, don’t do as I do but do as I say. This is to teach them the double standard. In all honesty, as parents, we’ve all fallen short in this particular thing but we must change and do things God‘s productive way that brings His blessings into our homes and lives.
When I was growing up, if my parents told me to do something that seemed a little unfair, I would ask, ‘why?’ The standard reply my sister and I usually got was, “Because I said so,” and that was it. You didn’t question any further. You either obeyed or reaped the unpleasant consequences of disobedience. Your choice. I had good godly parents but much of their parenting was patterned after what they had seen their parents model before them. They raised my older sister and I according to the knowledge they had at the time. To the best of what they believed was right. Many good godly parents today are doing the same thing. On the flip side, there is room for more positive change, doing things more in line with God’s Kingdom ways for our families. Amen.
Lectures Are For School:
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This scripture didn’t say anything about lecturing your children when you’re in conversation with them. We are not to attack them verbally through lecturing. Rather, teach them, correct them in love, train them, coach them, cheer them on to fulfill their purpose in life. If every time your son or daughter talks to you in confidence and it turns into a critical lecture from you, guess what will happen? From then on, they will do everything possible to avoid talking to you about anything for fear of receiving another dose of abusive criticism. All they wanted was to talk WITH you, not talked AT through critical lecturing. When this happens the lines of communication are severed.
Because of it, some parents will become upset and wonder why their son or daughter won’t talk to mother and daddy anymore? Critical lectures send out the message that your child (whatever age) can’t do anything right. It’s the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ in action. Abusive criticism is not conducive to producing good communication with your son or daughter to gain mutual understanding. Neither is it productive with your spouse or other people.
Actually conversation deals more with listening than it does with speaking. Anyone can talk but not everyone knows how to quiet themselves and patiently listen with their heart. Parents and children, husbands and wives, etc., all needs to feel that what they have to say is important because THEY are important to God, first and then to you. What we SAY is important when we are consciously sowing the good seed of God’s word into the lives of our spouse, our children and others. We don’t have to go around loaded for bear all the time unless we ‘choose‘ to. We really can choose to unload that double barrel shotgun of abusive words and speak words that are positive and ‘grace to the hearer.’
As your children grow, what they learn in school is important but what they learn at home from a godly father and mother is even more important. What they learn at home in a God-designed family unit will enhance the things they learn in school. Parents can’t depend on school teachers or day-care, or baby-sitters to teach and train their children. God gave this responsibility to the parents.
With the way the economy is today, it often takes the mother working outside the home to help meet the families financial needs. While this is true for a lot of households, it is still no excuse for neglect of the parents God-given responsibility to bring up their children in the ways of the Lord. Parents need to pray and ask God to lead them to a Christian day-care. For those in lower grades, pray for God’s favor and direction in placing your child with Christian teachers. Christian parents (all parents) need to act while you still have the freedom to do so on behalf of your children.
Stop The Pollution:
Earlier, I gave the scripture, Ephesians 6:4 out of the King James version of the Bible. I want to show it again from out of the Amplified Bible.
Eph.6:4, “Father’s, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger (do not exasperate them to resentment), but rear them (tenderly) in the training and discipline and counsel and admonition of the Lord.”
God says (paraphrase), Father’s, don’t go after your children loaded for bear, ready to unload both barrels of polluting words that will poison their souls. The same goes for mothers as well but fathers are addressed first because God set the man in the position of leader for his family. That means, he is to LEAD his family by and through the agape love of God, under the covering of the anointing that is on him as leader of his home. God didn’t set man in this position of leadership to rule like a tyrant. To be over-bearing and domineering like a drill sargent. He is to be like a gardener who nurtures his wife and children the way you would care for tender plants. The man, as husband and father, is to be the shepherd of his home under the leadership of Jesus, the good Shepherd, following His example.
LEAD---to guide and show the way to others by going ahead of them.
Father’s AND mothers, don’t provoke your children to anger by showing favoritism toward a younger or older sibling. Why? Because it will make them believe that they are not good enough to meet your standards of what is acceptable. It will wound their soul, and if they get this kind of negative image to go deep, their behavior will begin to reveal what they believes in their heart to be true. If his or her belief is that they are unlovable, then their behavior will become unlovable. And as a parent, you can’t whip or scold or belittle this kind of thing out of a child.
This can only be changed through much intercessory prayer mixed with faith in the anointed word of God and through consistent love and positive attention for starters. They may reject every positive gesture and word you try to give them but remember, they didn’t get to this place overnight. They have had time to build up a protective wall around their bruised emotions.
Even though they have, don’t lose heart because the ‘goodie’ of every nut has a tough outer shell that has to be cracked open. It may take several tries but eventually the shell will open through consistent love and patience whereby you can receive the ‘good.’ Restoration will have come to your family relationships and all to the glory of God.
Don’t you agree that it’s time for husbands and wives, for parents and children and the church family to give up bear hunting and unload those double barrel shotgun (our mouths) of pollution that wounds each other emotionally? Along with worshiping God together at our local churches, let us think of other positive things to do as a family. Something like plant a garden of daisies or roses. Or go on a family hike through the woods and have a picnic under the shade of a big maple tree, just enjoying each other. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a mighty good plan to me.