Chances are you’ve become well acquainted with a new member of your household: your attitude. I certainly have. He sneaks up on ya. Like a walking whisper. Suddenly he’s right there, talking for you, growling, barking… who is this, and where did he come from?
Unfortunately, he’s always been there. He’s been there from the beginning. It’s just situations like these that remind you, yep, my worst attitude is still in here with me. It’s fascinating how pressure, confinement, isolation, loneliness, stress… how these things grow and build, fester and intensify, until all at once they decide to manifest. Worse, they usually manifest in the midst of conflict. With your spouse, your kids, those closest to you. Before you know it, a person you don’t recognize – who somehow has your face and is speaking out of your mouth – is snapping, yelling, storming off and doing it all in your name.
If you live with your family, chances are you’ve fought these past few weeks. Your husband. Your wife. Your kids. You’ve fought once or twice. Seventy-two or seventy-three times maybe; especially if you have a fifteen-year old boy who doesn’t believe he should have to do anything in regards to chores, cleaning up his messes, or finishing his online schoolwork. Ahem… that’s just a hypothetical. Nothing to see here. Nothing… at… all.
But here’s the thing. We always have and always will wrestle with our flesh, with our sin nature. And it quite honestly often gets the best of us. What in the world are we supposed to do? How in the world can we resist those impulses? How in the world can we stop flashing the worst of ourselves and, even with our families in a time of crisis, start behaving in a more Christ-like way?
- First, we have to stop asking “how in the world are we going to figure all this out” and start asking “how in the name of Jesus can we repair and eliminate our lesser attitudes?”
- Second, we have to remember the wisdom of the Old and New Testaments and “tame that tongue!” Just because we think it, doesn’t mean we need to say it. It’s a simple technique from childhood but, oh my, do we have trouble remembering to walk away or to not say something when our anger is brewing!
- Third, we need to remember to pray for those we’re in conflict with or for those we’re growing irritated, frustrated or angry with. It’s very, very difficult to blow up at someone if you’re busy praying for them! Sit down with your kids and pray as a family. Take a moment to pray with your husband or wife. Make prayer the first part of the solution rather than a last resort after things have already erupted.
Don’t forget to spend personal time in prayer and reading your Bibles each day. These are the resources God has given to us that connect us directly – directly! – to Him, particularly in times of trouble.
Beware those attitudes. They creep in, appear and do so much damage to relationships, friendships and the peace of an otherwise stable home.