I felt it so strongly when my son responded in a rude and interrupting way when we were trying to have a serious time. He had been silly and when I corrected him his flippant response kindled my anger. I literally felt a strong desire to smack him right in the mouth and told him that was how I felt. It was not until the next day when I was being my normal annoying self that my wife’s anger finally exploded at me and I finally put two and two together. I can be a bit slow sometimes. I apologized for years of misbehavior and failing to love my wife as Christ loved the church. I had thought that because I did all sorts of little kindnesses, like washing some dishes, that this little thing didn’t matter, but this one unloving behavior was more than all the other good things put together. While all those little things whispered ‘I love you’, this one was constantly screaming “I love belittling you”. Now I was seeing clearly and seeing my son doing the same things. He was being rude and interrupting his mother and me, and he had been doing these things for a while.
I have a long road ahead and so does my son, but we are helping each other. We had a long talk about respect and how God wants us to behave toward those we love. I explained that the reason I had gotten so angry at him was because he had been acting like me. The fact that he is a young Christian also gives some extra weight to the discussion. We are not just a father and son working to get rid of bad habits that have been allowed to flourish too long, but also Christian brothers trying to encourage the best in one another.
I was reading about the idea of making your ceiling your children’s floor. I don’t want my son to be 40 before he learns to treat his wife with the proper respect, I want him to start right from the beginning. Now if I say something rude he helps remind me and I help him remember, too. When we work as a team we have a better chance of succeeding. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” More good news is that we are not both weak at the same time, Romans 15:1 tells us, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” We have identified the problem and know how to solve it. Now all that is left is to do it. - jp