My job as a husband and a father is to nurture my family into becoming the fullness of who they are. I can only do this by living with them in grace. I have to let them be free, and to deal with situations as they arise.
Trying to control them is like pushing them down. They cannot grow if I’m pushing them down. And so I allow them to be free. They don’t have to worry that I’ll judge them. They don’t have to fear that I’ll get angry. There is so much freedom in grace! It is absolutely amazing to me.
And I realize this seems like a simple concept, but most of us deal with it on some level every day. It’s a part of life.
For example, how often do you come home and find out that your husband or your wife has disciplined the kids in a certain way, and you want to change the rules? You might have a completely different idea of how to discipline them when they talk back or hit their little brothers. Right? Well, I used to come home and change the rules. My attitude was, “Hey, I’m the dad here, so I should lead. It’s important that I lead.”
But I have come to realize something. The Bible says to love your wife as Christ loved the church, and it says the husband is the head of the family as Christ is the head of the church. It’s a funny thing, though, when I look at Jesus. I don’t see someone standing on a pedestal and dictating to the church. I don’t see that at all!
Jesus led by becoming a servant. He served us, and He loved us, and He died for us. He served us, and we responded by putting ourselves under Him. We naturally made Him the leader, because of how He served us, His family. So when you go to your family and say, “Listen up! I’m the head of the family, and you will do what I say,” then you put your family under you. That’s legalism. Do that to your family, and you will get resistance. They will shut you down, and they will quit listening to you. They will rebel against you, because you forced them under you. You’ll be out in the emotional cold.
But if you love your family, and serve them as Jesus served us, then they will naturally put themselves under you. They’ll draw near to you and trust you to lead them. They will trust you because you love them in grace, and you love them with understanding.
I don’t want to be in control of everything. It stresses me out. It stressed me out for years trying to control everything, trying to make my family be a certain way, and act a certain way. I no longer tell my family, “I’m the head of the family, so do what I say.”
Instead, I co-lead. I am not the only leader of the family. My wife and I are co-leaders, as Eve and Adam were intended to be, and as Paul reminded the Ephesians. So we co-lead in grace. Now if she needs me, my first question is, “How can I help?” I ask, “How can I be available? What can I do?” I’m not here to judge her, or to tell her how I would do things, or to tell her to act this way or that way. I just ask, “How can I be of help?”
And since my wife doesn’t feel judged, she can tell me. She can express herself to me, and I can just love on her. And man, it is amazing how free and happy my wife is. And my kids, same thing, they’re just happy. We’re growing. In the end, your family will look to you to lead. When as men we learn to lead from the attitude of servant leadership not dictatorship.
More on grace next time. See you Thursday.