“The Home: Problems and Solutions” (Post Script)

This article is part 6 of 6 in the series Christian Home

Looking through Dad’s Bible, I found these notes, hand written October 1, 2000. Evidently he was taking notes from Neale Pryor. Here are his notes…
(Forgiveness – Three parts love and seven parts forgiveness.)
1.) PARENTS: Forgive your children – (e.g. Absalom)
2.) CHILDREN: Forgive your parents
3.) BROTHERS AND SISTER: Forgive each other
4.) HUNSBAND/WIFE: Forgive each other
5.) YOU: Forgive yourself.
The importance of forgiving one another cannot be over-stated when dealing with relationships. If you parallel the church family and the home, the need for FORGIVENESS in both are easy to see.
What is “forgiveness?” Dad had this definition, “To grant free pardon, and cease to feel resentment.” He preached this all across the brotherhood, and finally, after a lesson on “Dealing with bitterness,” a lady met him at the door and told him she disagreed with him. She and Dad sat and talked, and she explained that in her opinion his idea was over simplified… and that “ceasing to feel resentment” takes time. The healing of the heart and emotions doesn’t just happen over night (although it can). Forgiveness opens the door or begins the healing process. From that time, Dad changed his message to be more balanced.
The reason for adding this to the short series on the home, is that nothing takes the place of forgiveness! A home without a forgiving spirit will not last. Too many hurts, short comings, and faults (whether innocent or on purpose) just seem to pile up in the heart. Paul says, “Love does not keep a record of wrongs…” and yet that is exactly what happens in many a heart. Finally the “pile” gets too big, the pain and emotional distress gets too hard to handle, and divorce is pursued as the only way out, and while this is not an article on the DRM question, we need to try and help before relationships in the family, and in church (divisions), get to the point of no repair. Just preaching “agin it,” doesn’t help. People need some PRACTICAL ADVISE AND HELP. Congregations need some PRACTICAL help and advice.
When a family experiences divorce.. it is because the marriage has died long before. Often the result of a lack in humility and mercy. Humility asks for forgiveness (free pardon,) and mercy (not getting what you deserve) grants it. It is much like God’s grace, right?
When a congregation “divorces” (divides), it is usually due to a lack of humility (and an abundance of pride), and a lack in mercy towards each other. Given the fact that a congregation is composed of people from different backgrounds, carrying different baggage from the past, means there must be a lot of patience and wisdom in dealing with this. Romans 14-15 deals with this idea at length, where the “weak” and “strong” must “stay in the struggle.”
Loving your wife, and loving brethren, demand an understanding and practice of always being ready to forgive.
There is something more we need to add… “put up with one another.” Fact is “you ain’t gonna change each other,” and probably “you aren’t a bargain to live with either.” Everyone has “baggage” and things which need corrected… No, you won’t change other people, at least not always, on everything. Begin with yourself. In the home or in a congregation, there are things you just need to accept, or at least give time to grow.
Here is something I picked up from Dad which applies both to ALL families and congregations.
1. YOU ARE NUMBER ONE IN MY LIFE. (Putting others before yourself is extremely important, because selfishness, or thinking everything revolves around you will destroy relationships.)
2. I ACCEPT YOU AS YOU ARE. YOU ARE FREE TO BE YOURSELF. (Just think about it… when a person becomes a Christian, God has accepted him/her. The first thing we begin to do is tell them, “You gotta change this or that.” Before long they het the idea that THEY ARE NEVER GOOD ENOUGH! Growth comes more by observance than coercion. Just imagine yourself in their place. How do you react when change is being pushed on you? Not so well I imagine. ACCEPT THEM! LET THEM GROW AND CHANGE OVER TIME! TEACH AND ENCOURAGE WITH THE LOVE YOU SHOULD HAVE FOR A HUSBAND OR WIFE.
3. MAKE NO MORAL JUDGMENTS. Dad told Mom, “I will not make any moral judgments about you.” Well, he failed in this. He tried though. Making moral judgments is a touchy area. CAUTION should be used, CARE AND LOVE should be evident. Listen friends, you can correct someone on almost anything, if they are certain it is coming from a heart of love!
4. YOU ARE FREE TO HAVE YOUR FEELINGS. Feelings aren’t right or wrong… they just are! You need to understand this. When someone is upset, the worst thing you can say is, “you shouldn’t feel that way.” Again, put yourself in their shoes. Try saying, “You have a right to your feelings…” Just listen! This is hard for preachers… I know this first hand. Dad was a great preacher… his problem (in his words), “I just have a hard time listening.”
5. NO DIVORCE! You say, “What if I have been through divorce?” Are you a believer, washed in the blood of Jesus? “Yes.” Have you repented sincerely of the (divorce) past? “Yes.” Then begin where you are in God’s forgiveness and grace, and promise your spouse DIVORCE IS OUT OF OUR PICTURE. WE ARE IN THIS FOR LIFE!” You may say “Well I haven’t been through divorce.” Then you need to tell your spouse the same thing! NO DIVORCE!
Congregations and families need to stop the sin of quitting on each other (divorce). God hates it! Instead learn how to forgive. Don’t preach against “divorce” and push for “division” in a congregation. It is hypocritical to say the least.
Husbands, wives, (especially children,) congregations, need to know… WE WILL NOT HAVE ANY PART IN “QUITTING ON EACH OTHER.” Mark and avoid the one who spreads division wherever they go. Keep the unity of the Spirit. Build and encourage the home and congregation you are part of.
Grow in grace!

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