The hardest thing about having strength is not using it.
Controlling strength is particularly important for fathers of small children, outbursts of strength around young children is devastating to them, whether the outburst is physical, verbal or emotional. My own experience is that preventing angry outbursts at my children takes a huge amount of self-control, humility, practise and help from others. I am not good at this.
I am not alone unfortunately, New Zealand’s heart-breaking child abuse record attests to this, and the statistics are but the tip of a destructive iceberg. The latest New Zealand figures are indicating that 2011 is likely to be another year of child abuse shame in our nation. People can and do look for many reasons and excuses why adults, men particularly, harm children. It is essential to investigate causes and prevention strategies, but that’s way outside my purpose here.
All I know is that my children are physically, emotionally and verbally much weaker than me and sometimes I turn this against the little people who I love the most. God does not give His gifts to those who exert strength over others, he allows the meek to inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). He does not make greatness in His kingdom a function of strength or power, greatness in the Kingdom of God comes through humility (Matthew 18:3-4).
Controlling my frustrations, voice, irritation, anger, and physical strength is essential for the well-being of my children. It is also essential for my attainment in the Kingdom of Heaven. To attain to the Kingdom of God I must humble myself – especially before my children.
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
(1 Corinthians 1:27 ESV)
It does help me at least a bit to remember in my moments of frustration or irritation at my kids that once again I can thank God for using the weak to shame my strength into submission so that I may also become a child of our Father in heaven.
After writing this my wife, who is much better educated than I about these things, tells me that stress experienced by young children causes demyelination of cortex neurons, leading to learning difficulties and also causing the child to grow up tending towards emotional responses rather then rational responses when stressed.
Gifts I have noticed this week:
416) Cleaning the kitchen floor, because the washing machine flooded.
417) Home-made Turkish coffee… Mmmm!
418) Traffic noise after the tragic silence yesterday.
419) Dwindling wood pile keeping us warm.
420) Hearth stopping hot coals from burning our house down!
421) Growing accustomed to an un-routine lifestyle.
422) Hot shower on a cold morning.
423) Toast at midnight.
424) Comfy woollen jersey.
425) Small people who quail before an unrestrained ranting.
426) Paradise ducks on the pond.
427) Reminder that even the strong can fall.
428) Walking out of shade into sunshine.
429) Cicadas chirping.
430) Rope swing in an old tree.
431) Industry noises echoing around the hills reminding me there are echoes of Christ everywhere.
432) A small army of lancewoods.
433) Acknowledging a passing “I should have…” thought without beating myself up for it.
434) Blinding reflections of glory.
435) Cats lying on a roof to catch the last sunny warmth.
436) beauty of sailboats and steeples.
437) A church who accepts me in my strength and, more importantly, in my weaknesses.
The collage of beautiful children is from various news stories – each of these children was murdered in New Zealand within the last five years, and there are many others also.
If you are a sensitive soul only read the following article on a day you are feeling strong – it’s reality, but not easy to consider.