“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
Last time I discussed the importance of understanding that Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, requests your permission to enter your heart. He doesn’t just barge in! He wants your permission to come in and love on you. Without your permission, He can’t protect you.
As my Father, God looks at me and asks, “What’s the best way for me to parent Jeremy?” Obviously He does a lot for me, but He doesn’t ever enter without knocking. He waits for me to open the door.
I want to parent my sons the same way that God parents me. I knock at the doors of their hearts and wait for their permission to enter.
When one of my sons gets sent to his room, I have to literally stand at the door and knock!
I haven’t always done this. I’ve sent my son to his room and then stormed in without asking and shouted, “I don’t care if you give me permission or not! I am so mad! So I’m going to tell it to you how it is.” Just like him, I’m upset and reacting. I’ve let a nine year-old, or six year-old, or even four year-old child get into my head. That shows you that I have some immaturities!
Now I’m learning to do things differently. I’m learning to say, “Hey, have I got your permission to tell you why I sent you to your room? I have an idea for what we can do about it, and I’d like to hear your ideas too. Let’s talk about it.”
To do things differently, I start by saying, “You need to go to your room now. I’ll be down in five minutes.”
I’m doing two things here. First, I’m letting him calm down. I mean, he is not going to his room because he’s being such a good kid. He’s not going to his room because he’s talking nice to his mom or dad. He’s probably going to his room because he’s wound up, and he is reacting out of his anger or frustration. He’s going to his room because his attitude is causing problems. If I send him to his room, then he has a quiet place where he can calm down.
Second, I’m creating an opportunity for dialogue. I want to sit with my sons and talk to them. That’s why I promise to be down in five minutes. And I keep that promise. In five minutes, I walk down to his room, and I knock. I ask him if it’s okay for me to come in.
Sometimes he’ll say, “No!” I’m okay with that. I just say to him, through the door, “Okay. That’s okay. I’m going to leave, and I’m going to come back in five minutes and ask again.”
Nine times out of ten, when I come back the second time and knock, he gives me permission to enter. Then I can sit with him and we can talk. I say, “Do I have your permission to talk with you? Are you ready?” As soon as we’re at this point, he says yes. Then we have a great conversation. He talks to me, I talk to him, and we listen to each other. We dialogue about what happened.
Then I explain that I’m the grown-up. I tell him, “Hey, I understand what you’re saying, but you can’t do what you did. You can’t because I’ve told you not to.” I explain why he needs to do as I say. I tell him, “I understand how you’re feeling, and your mom and I take that very seriously. It means so much to us to know how you’re feeling. But that doesn’t mean that you can disrespect us, or talk to us the way you just did. We need you to understand that. Speaking disrespectfully is going to land you in a lot of trouble every time you do it. We need you to think about that.”
Every time, he hears me.
More on this next time. See you Wednesday.