“Comforting is what a follower of Jesus does freely.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 7, 2021
by Guest Writer Bill Ibsen
For this cause a man shall LEAVE his father and his mother, and shall CLEAVE to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
My very good friend Bill Ibsen and I have followed Jesus together for over 16 years. We have been in an intimate community group with our wives for 11 years and traveled to Israel and India with our 16-year-old daughters. In addition, we have enjoyed a book club studying classics over the past 7 years. I love and admire Bill for his love for the Lord and his family. For the next five weeks, Wisdom Hunters is blessed to share Bill’s wisdom on grandparenting as he and Alison enjoy the company of five grandbabies! Here’s the fourth of five devotionals on grandparenting:
Loving grandchildren well involves healthy boundaries for Grandparents!
Generous Investment of Time, Money and Emotional Energy
I must relationally and financially freely invest in our relationship in order to keep it healthy and fruitful. This will cost time and money, and at times, sacrifice. But that’s what love does.
Humble Yourself to Initiate Conflict Resolution
Further, the inevitable need for conflict resolution will at times be part of this relationship, just as it is with all important relationships. Be quick to resolve conflict, and slow to anger and judgment. Deal with conflict early and often, and with the respect and deference we would give any important relationship. I will inevitably unintentionally hurt my kids, their spouse, or my grandkids, and I must OWN even my 1% of the pain. I must own and deal with any hurt, disappointment, sadness, guilt, false guilt, shame/condemnation or any other negative feelings that I intentionally or unintentionally pour into their emotional cups.
An effective, honest, apology is critical (not half-hearted, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”). Never defend myself in these apologies – that’s not the point of an apology. Give comfort to my kids and their spouse’s pain, just as easily and freely and often as I do when my grandkids fall and scrape their knees. Comforting is what a follower of Jesus does freely. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
Be Open and Vulnerable with Your Emotions
Emotionally responding to my children, in-laws, and grandchildren is critically important and part of God’s desire for His Body that I “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15b). Rejoicing and mourning with is especially important in my closest relationships. I will “speak the truth in love” only if they ask for the truth part – otherwise, I’ll just emotionally respond to their pain, disappointments, setbacks, bad outcomes, poor decisions, etc. using phrases like “Wow!” or “That’s a bummer.” These phrases should be my frequent responses to my children’s occasionally surprising decisions and announcements, as opposed to correction, advice, facts & logic, reason, etc. Unwelcome advice -particularly parental—is taken as criticism, and I am foolish or out-of-touch with reality if I think otherwise.
“Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another” (Ephesians 5:21, MSG).
Heavenly Father, humble my heart as I seek to love my family well, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider apologizing to your adult child for a childhood incident that may have hurt her heart.
Genesis 18:19; Psalm 128:3-4; Matthew 5:23-34; 1 Timothy 3:2-5
Ryan Ellis: Heart of the Father
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