Ever since Adam and Eve ate the apple, people have been discontent and fussed! As parents, we tend to be so irritated at the quarreling and immature fussing of our children. Yet, it is no more attractive in adults. I have been convicted over the years, that the first place of creating a peaceful environment in my home must start with me. I am responsible to God to seek to love and serve others because of His love for me.
Fussing comes from a heart issue–it has at its root the basis of all sin–selfishness and self-centeredness. The attitude behind all quarrels and contention says, “I want my way. I deserve to be the center of attention. I need to have all of my wishes and desires met and everyone else is wrong when they violate my needs and desires.”
However, another spiritual contention comes from pride–I know more than you, I am older than you and I can push you around and for adults, –my religious philosophy is doctrinally more correct than yours, my educational philosophy is better than yours, I am less bad than you or I am better than you and so on. Pride is also at the root of contention.
Fussing is at the root of divorce, family separations, church splits, sibling rivalry, and any kind of contention that separates people.
So How to Slow Down all the Fussing in Your Home?
I have always told my children that it is natural to be selfish, defensive, argumentative, full of pride, but it is supernatural to be mature, loving and patient, humble.
Training, bit by bit, is the key to a child developing an attitude of good will. Maturity takes years.
For many years, I wondered if I was making any progress at all. Yet now, my children love to be together and generally treat each other with respect. They have learned a pattern of how to give grace, ask for forgiveness and make up.
Our whole family memorized a verse that became our training verse for our children to become peacemakers when there was a conflict.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
A friend taught me about “the peace making couch.” When her children had an argument, they were required to sit together on a couch until they could work out their argument, ask for forgiveness and pray together. This left a pattern in their lives for the process of restoring relationships.
In our home we also would:
Stop when an argument broke out.
Talk to the children involved to find out the issue.
Ask them how the verse we memorized applied to the situation.
Ask them what God would want them to do.
Stay until the argument was stopped or ask the child who kept it going to leave the room until he could gain control of his spirit. Sometimes, if the child or children were especially harsh, I would have them write the verse out and then read it to me. Then I would ask them to tell me what God’s way for this situation would be.
Repetitive exercises have instilled these verses deep into the minds of my children, so that as adults they have a wise place to go when they are tempted to argue. Choosing to be an instrument of peace requires us to obey His word and His will and to make a choice to be peacemakers and life-givers. Maturity is a process of practicing obedience and choosing love while also knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who lives in us, to work out His good pleasure and holiness through us.
Training and practice helps cultivate a child who is mature, strong and understands how to live a life bringing the peace of God into all situations.
Sally Clarkson, I Take Joy