Monday, March 30

Getting Along in Close Quarters

There may be bandwidth issues when Mom and Dad are teleworking from home while kids are teleschooling. When everybody is locked down at home there may be a different sort of bandwidth problem to deal with—the bandwidth of patience and peace in the home.

It’s not only a kid problem. The adult anxiety about the economy, the spread of the virus, and meeting short term and long term needs can shorten fuses. Once frustrations start to mount, it seems like the Holy Spirit goes silent, along with his trademark fruit of kindness, peace, joy, patience and self-control.

Here’s how to recover. Forgiveness is the key. The biblical word means to leave it, or let it go. This is not stuffing, ignoring, or minimizing the feelings of frustration or anxiety. We own these. We acknowledge them, but then we release them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let go. And, when appropriate, we speak forgiveness because God’s divine power is at work when we forgive one another. Say it. Dare to speak Jesus’ “F” word, “I forgive you.” Christian parents will model this and teach it to their children, so that when anyone in the home says, “I am sorry,” the one who was hurt responds, “I forgive you.” Then watch God at work. The cross of Christ guarantees results. Peter asked Jesus, “How many times must I forgive my brother? Seven times? (It’s a perfect number, after all). “No,” said Jesus, “Seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22) If you bother to keep count, by the time you get to Jesus’ number you will need no more convincing. You will have witnessed God at work, restoring peace and joy through the Holy Spirit. Besides, it will have become a habit. And, most likely, you will have come to appreciate that this is how God treats us in Christ. He does not limit his forgiveness to us.

Lord Jesus, you showed strength when you suffered and died for our sins, even though it looked like weakness. In the same way, your power is at work in us through the “weakness” of letting go of resentments and anger, when we practice forgiveness of sins. Thank you for the limitless perfection of your forgiveness, and the irrevocable promise of your Holy Spirit to all who repent and believe. I believe. Help my unbelief. Help me put your forgiveness into practice, especially in my closest relationships. Let your joy and peace fill my heart, and permeate my home. Amen