Several Sundays ago, we were getting ready for church and from across the hallway you could hear screaming and yelling. There was an all out brawl in our living room over which child took the other’s pink story Bible.
“No, it’s mine!” my five-year-old daughter yells.
“No, I want it! I want it!” my three-year-old daughter yells back. After some hair pulling and name calling, the three-year-old then runs from her sister and into our bedroom hiding from her sister with a sneaky face.
I still had to do my hair and finish putting my mascara on because you know, we had to be at church in 20 minutes. I was still waking up too because I’m not a morning person. I could barely handle the noise level and sibling rivalry. The yells and screams were shattering to my ears. After some discipline and working out the conflict, I assured my three-year-old that she’d get her own Bible one day and that was enough to dissolve the chaos.
You see, my husband is a pastor. I’m the pastor’s wife and my kids are pulling their hair out in a fight over the Bible. Most other days, they fight over toys and the color of their cup. Unkind words were plentiful that morning. And I’m thinking to myself, What is wrong with us? Is there something wrong with this picture?
Well, yes. And no.
Kill Sin or It will Kill You
God has called us to shepherd our wonderful church body and to serve, love, and lead well. But we aren’t exempt from sin, spiritual warfare, fights with our flesh, brokenness, chaos, struggle, and more. And I’m convinced that Satan’s greatest testings and temptations occur on Sunday mornings for many families. Perhaps you have some of your own stories.
But have you ever thought of the reality that every day, each member in your family steps out onto the floor of a great battlefield in your very own home? Maybe you’ve had a day where you stepped into a fight without your armor on. I have and it’s never pretty. Clearly, we have an Enemy crouching at our door.
And now more than ever, we have an Enemy who is ready for an all out brawl against the family unit because it is one of God’s greatest means to show the world of his faithful, unconditional love. We have an Enemy who is ready and willing to shred our family to pieces and he will do anything he can to destroy what God declares as good.
John Owen once said, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.” I believe this applies very well to family relationships. Sin and the Enemy want to own us, discourage us, make us ineffective, and steal our joy. Sin and the Enemy desire to break our marriages apart, hurt our children, and cause all kinds of pain, dysfunction, and disharmony.
Healing in Your Heart and Home
I don’t have to share a story about the damages sin has on our families and marriages. You have seen the devestation and consequences in your own circles. I have seen the dark places my heart can go in times of intense frustration with my children and I need God’s grace constantly. Perhaps you’ve seen your struggles and negative sin patterns and how they impact your children today and it scares you.
The good news is that you’re not alone and Jesus cares deeply for you and how you relate to your family. He cares about where you struggle and how it affects you. His grace is greater than all your sin. Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8). And when you ask him, He will fight for your family.
So my challenge to us as parents is this: How serious are we about our sin? Can we call our sin what it is and not sugarcoat it? For some of us it’s our anger, temper, lust, pornography, lying, cheating, undisciplined tongue, apathy, laziness, control, workaholism, gossip, people pleasing, pride, love of money, and more.
Are we willing to do the hard work of confessing it and turning from that sin so we can find healing in our hearts and in our homes? Are we willing to put our marriage first because a healthy marriage is the greatest gift we can give our children?
Fight for Abundant Life
We will never be perfect, but when we screw up, we turn back to Jesus. We keep seeking him and asking for his help. And then we do it all over again the next day. Repentance is a way of life. We ask forgiveness from the Lord, our spouse, and our children. We ask our friends to pray for us and remind us of truth. Jesus knows our brokenness and He calls us to an abundant life that is filled with peace, joy, love, and goodness.
I’m sure the next fight in our home won’t be over a pink Bible, but something else, and I’ll need to be ready to deal with whatever is being thrown at us. Literally.
If we knew that sin desires to take the very heartbeat of our family, would we wake up with a different perspective, ready to engage and fight in the battle? I think so.
If you haven’t put on your armor today, what are you waiting for?
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. – Eph. 6:11-13