It was about 2:00 am when the piercing scream, “Turn that thing off!” startled me and my husband out of a deep sleep.

 

Our oldest child was livid as he was awakened by this intruding baby’s demanding cry. I rarely heard our son say a cross-word until that very first day his little brother joined the family.

So what’s a mother to do about the thousands of inevitable irritations in relationships?

Consider the following conflict.

You, the mother, are reading scripture to your children and attempting to start the day right. While you are reading to your children, they are talking among themselves. So, quickly trying to gain control, you ask your oldest child to read it for you.

Unhesitatingly he reads Romans 12:9-13 “Your love must be real . . .”

Then he interrupts himself and yells to his brother, “You idiot!” (Because he was annoyed their feet bumped under the table.) He regains his composure and goes back to reading, “Love each other like brothers and sisters.” He interrupts himself again and screams to his brother, “I so hate you!” (Their feet apparently bumped again.) Still disconnected with the words he was reading . . . he continues, “Give your brothers and sisters more honor than you want for yourselves.”

Wow, pretty funny huh? But, what’s a mother to do?

Is this the kind of thing Jesus was referring to when He said, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NASB

Try on” the following scenario which, though similar, ends with an arresting twist.

 It’s a few years later, and you again are trying to read the Bible to your kiddos to begin the day right. They start out listening to what you are reading, but before long they begin to horse around.

They’re making funny faces at each other, throwing erasers, and laughing. By the third sentence they are really irritating one another, and you’re getting angrier by the minute.

You’re provoked daughter yells to her brother, “quit pushing me!”

The fermenting chaos gets the best of you. The blood in your veins begins to boil and burn as they continue to disregard this reverent time. How dare they be so disrespectful.

You finally explode like an overripe melon and unwittingly find the nearest object, which happens to be your daughter’s favorite mug, and slam it on the table to get their attention. It explodes into a thousand pieces . . .

 

. . . The phone rings, and with all the composure you can muster, you answer hesitantly, but cheerfully, “Hello! . . . Oh yes, I’m fine how are you? . . . Yes . . . Would you hold just one minute please.”

Getting back to your overripe melon act with your children you spew on, “Okay, now you kids are really in trouble. While I am on this phone I don’t want to hear a single noise. You will have no more privileges today, and I expect you both to sit right there, and do your math until it’s done.”

Hear again Jesus’ words, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 NASB

Ouch!

So what’s a mother to do about the thousands of inevitable irritations in relationships?

After I earned a Master’s degree in counseling and began to grow a counseling practice with a private Christian agency, I noticed, almost invariably, individuals in conflicts with their family members would say, “Why should I change? It’s the other person causing the problem.”

This attitude only breeds further difficulties. A more helpful and attractive attitude is, “How may I be contributing to the problem? Do I have any “logs” in my own eyes?”

I know . . . it’s easy to understand this intellectually, but to actually practice it, especially as a mom, these “little things” called emotions too often get in the way and cause us to be “LOGGED IN”.

So what’s a mother to do about the thousands of inevitable irritations in relationships?

The answer is found in four powerful words:

Remember to log out

  • Foremost we must be willing to courageously look at our own imperfection.

  • In a cooling down period become aware of God’s prodding as to why we’re “logged in”.

  • Actively seek His wisdom on how to get “logged out”.

  • Be forthright and tell our children we have been “logged in”, but are working on getting “logged out”.

This sincere humble example informs our children how to do the same, draws them toward us, and helps them to “taste and see that the Lord is good”.

After all, the fewer overripe melons and shattered mugs the better. They’re too messy!