For the past few years mike and I have always talked on and off about how we would like to do a family bible night. We do a devotional at meal time, and one before bed with the kids, but we wanted to do something different. Once a week we wanted to make a special time that we would all do a fun activity with a lesson that we could all learn from. Well through the many bible studies we have started together on parenting.... and we finally got to one, that we both really really like. It's called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. We bought the parent handbook to go along with it and we are learning so much. We decided last sunday night to do a family bible night and we decided it was going to be on how we use our words.
We started out with Mike asking them questions, about what are harmful words, and what are helpful words.
Then we gave them some clues.... to find their verses. For example Joseph's was (from a barnyard game) "If Ben wanted to meet you at the junkyard how would he get in touch with you" the answer (cell phone) so off he went to find mommy's cell phone and inside of it was his verse. James 1:19 "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." We talked about what this meant, that we should always think before we speak, and not get angry so quickly.
Samuel's clue was taped to the back of mike' shirt... and his clue was "this person loves to wrestle with you and shares his apple with you". So he found daddy and his clue and his verse was Passage James 3:10 "nd so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!" We talked about that as well.... how hypocritcal christians can be when we talk about how we are living for God and then curse a brother or sister in Christ.
Michael's clue was on the computer and his read "To use this you must have power, but you are only allowed to stay on for one half hour".... and his verse was Ephesians 4:29 "Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." We talked about how what comes out of our mouth should always be helpful to the listener. If it isn't helpful that it ought not be said.
Then we borrowed an idea from a book called "Creative Correcton by Lisa Welchel". I remember hearing a story on Focus on the Family one time about how her son was saying mean things to his sister, so she had him go out back and nail several nails into a fence. Then she made him take out the nails.
Well Mike had each boy nail a nail into his workbench in the basement. He had them each take out their nail, and we explained what she explained on the radio show that day. When we use hurtful words it is like we are driving a nail into someone's heart. We may say we are sorry (remove the nail) but the damage has been done, we have left a hole in their heart. We cause damage to those around us when we speak in a way that is not in love. We explained that we used daddy's workbench because they see it every day. We wanted them that when they see those holes, to remember to always think before they speak, and be slow to become angry.
This was a lesson for mike and I as well. As their parents we have to make sure we are also doing this. It's hard, sometimes we think as adults we have the right to do things, that we feel our children shouldn't simply because we are adults, but the truth is we still have to answer to our Heavenly Father for our actions. We don't want to leave holes in people where we have inflicted wounds with our words.
Another great verse that struck me as we were doing this family bible night and in the past week is...
Ephesians 4 verse15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. verse 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all ty...pes of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
My prayer for my family is that we can all learn to speak in love, think and choose our words carefully and grow to be more like Christ. It's a lifelong process and it's hard work sometimes, but the reward is also the greatest I could ever imagine. Can't wait to talk with Mike tonight about what we are going to do for tomorrow's Family Bible Night. (every sunday night :-) )