I read some harsh words today in Sticky Faith. They were both Law and Gospel to me. It’s something that I know I should do, but have a really hard time with it, especially toward my children. So, here is the quote:
When our kids go through rough spots, whether it is because of circumstances beyond their control or the choices they make, their greatest need from us is gentle stability and compassion. Regardless of the offense, whether getting a D or getting arrested, underneath the rhetoric and even outright outbursts, your child is not doing this to get at you. Even the most egregious of situations, remember that they are, at the core, suffering, and they need you to care. As Jesus cares for all of us in all we go through, so we too are dispensers of his grace. -Kara Powell & Chap Clark
Its hard for me to default with compassion because in the moment the anger and frustration that are coursing through my body are very real. It’s hard to default with compassion when I just react instead of trying to understand.
My oldest son will sometimes become so tired at night that he starts to act especially aggressive toward anything moving. He will yell, scream, and be mean to anyone in his path, especially when his extra ordinary requests are not going to be met.
I have also met his attitude not with compassion, but with frustration and equally, if not more, aggressive tones of voice. Recently, I have been trying to meet his aggressiveness with compassion. I don’t always remember. Instead of letting him be distant and distraught, I have sought to bring him closer, holding him tightly, letting him know that I love him and that he is tired. I’ve tried to meet his aggressiveness with compassion and found that is actually what he needed. He needed to know that while he was out of control, I had him and would love him, no matter what I wish I remembered to do that all the time. If my children will embody the faith I practice, I want one of the fruits to be compassion.
So, what’s your default setting?