How To Be A Christian Without Being A Jerk

Faith in real life

Time: The Critical Investment Every Father Needs to Make: #4-Toddlers: Part 2 Your Son as Neighbor

September 26th, 2011

Number Two:

The Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." This does not mean, "Try to change your neighbor into you." Yes, you want others to imitate you as you imitate Christ, but that doesn't mean being you. With our sons this is a huge temptation. 

The greatest resource on relationships I know is the New Testament of the Bible. Especially the teachings of how the followers of Jesus are to treat each other. There isn't much specific father/son relationship teaching, but there is plenty about how to get along in community. How you treat your "neighbor." The model of how Jesus lives is key in all of this.  What would it mean to treat our sons the way Jesus would treat our sons if he were us?

The Bible teaches that our natural human desire is to be at the center of our own universe where high levels of control and manipulation take place. Using aggression or withdrawing our love and acceptance are the normal ways we deal with conflict/disagreement. This attack or withdrawal becomes the model our sons will see us use, especially with our wives, or they will experience our attack or withdrawal directly.

The Bible speaks of another way. When the Holy Spirit dwells in us as he did in Jesus, we have access to the same "fuel for living" that Jesus possessed: Grace. The pure love of God the Father. 

With this supernatural power available, we begin to model the way Jesus lived in community.  Tons of graciousness, unusual amounts of patience, and wide boundaries of acceptance, become the norm for us. On a practical level, what does this look like? Some examples.

Example: Apologizing and admitting we were wrong.

Dad: "I'm sorry. I was wrong."

Example: At age appropriate times, showing some of our own vulnerability.

Dad: "I was (am) scared, too, sometime. Then I thought (think) about God's angels protecting me and I was (am) O.K."

Example: You don't have to know everything.

Dad: "I don't know. Why don't you ask mom?" (This is supernatural influence we are talking here, isn't it?)

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How To Be A Christian Without Being A Jerk

Faith in real life