Fighting For Our Family

Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b ESV

I sometimes enjoy watching the HGTV shows like “Hometown” and “Love it or List It”. My favorite moment in the half hour shows is always the “Reveal”. That is when the happy couple is lead into their newly remodeled home and shown all the amazing improvements, while uplifting music plays in the background. One part we don’t notice is that most of the furniture we are seeing, is actually just staged and that if they want to keep it all, they will need to pay a bit more. While that technique is great in selling television shows or homes, it is not so great with families. In the old days, that is what we did when company came over and today it is more like posting pictures on Facebook of our family vacation or our smiling grandkids at the beach. But the real life, messy scenes that never make it to social media are our arguments, heartbreaks and tears that lurk behind every one of those staged images. But God is not shocked, offended or pushed to the brink of unfriending us when we are going through a family crisis. Instead, it is during those dark and terrible times that God chooses to teach us that He wants us to stand and fight for our family and that by His grace we can learn to love as He did.

We fight because a family is worth defending
We fight because we love them too much to quit
We fight because no one else will come to their aid
We fight because family is a precious gift from God
And God expects us to lay down our lives
As He did His
And then stand strong in His love
When everyone else has walked away

Listening to our Children

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.            James 3:17 ASV

When driving through a snowstorm or rush hour traffic it helps to turn on some easy listening music. The soothing sound of the melodies can calm our nerves and lower the intensity of our situation down so we can better focus. Now if you asked our sons who was that easy listening person that they wanted to talk to when they were in trouble; that would have picked their mom. It’s not so much that Nancy was easy on them, but she made them feel welcome to tell her their problems. She was easy to be entreated.

James tells us that we need to ask God for wisdom and that includes being easy to be entreated. Maybe some of us don’t make others feel welcome to share their troubles; because we don’t believe that God will listen to ours. But the amazing truth is that God welcomes us when we come with problems or even just small stuff that we struggle with. Always remember that God never asks us to do anything that He hasn’t already done Himself. He is easy to be entreated; willing to listen and ready to teach us to be easy listeners to others when they are in need.

Hey! Break it Up!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV

“Dad! Chris is hitting me!” my youngest shouted through the door. I rushed in to find our sons once again locked in combat over their Lego construction projects.

“My brother’s a jerk!”  Our seven year old retorted as he stood with arms crossed. “He knocked over what I was building with and so I hit him!”

“Okay you guys, go sit on your beds!” I snapped. This was the umpteenth tussle between them just in the last week and I searched my mind for a way out of the vicious cycle. “Now you’re going to sit there until you can tell me ten things good about your brother.” I sternly told them. Our youngest sat deep in thought, then burst out in frustration, “But there’s nothing good about my brother!”

Do you ever feel like that about somebody in your life? Often healing in a relationship won’t begin until we ask God to help us see something good in the other person.   On the cross, Jesus couldn’t see anything and yet He said, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”  He was thinking of His love for us when He chose to give His life. Jesus remembered our weaknesses and not our sins. Jesus believed we were worth dying for. When we see something good in someone else He will help us to see something excellent and worthy of praise in our brother.