My job as a husband and 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.
Trying to control them is like pushing them down. They cannot grow if I’m pushing them down. They need to be free. They shouldn’t have to worry that I’ll judge them. They shouldn’t have to fear that I’ll get angry. We all need to live in grace. 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 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 fight with each other.
I used to come home and try to change the rules. My attitude was, “Hey, I’m the dad here, so I should lead. It’s important that I lead.” Then I realized something.
The Bible 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. Because He served us, we respond by putting ourselves under Him. We naturally make Him the leader, because of how He served us, His family.
If 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, then they will naturally put themselves under you. They’ll draw near to you. They’ll 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. We co-lead in grace. When 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 help?”
And since my wife doesn’t feel judged, she can tell me. She can express herself to me. Then I can love on her. And man, it is amazing how free and happy my wife is. It’s the same thing with my kids. They’re just happy! We’re growing!
We can learn, as men, to lead from the attitude of servant leadership, not dictatorship. If you do that, your family will look to you to lead. You and your wife will find partnership and love, and your family will grow in happiness and grace.
See you Thursday. Happy Easter! He is risen!