How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 7

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The Number One Key to Peace in Your Home

Be quick to forgive. Easier said than done until you realize the incredibly high price of a grudge.  Failure to forgive has destroyed more marriages, families, interpersonal relationships, and lives than any other single poor life-choice. Unforgiveness is a personal prison you sentence yourself to, and the good news is you are the only one who has the key to let yourself out.

For our family, holding a grudge against anyone for anything was not an option. This policy was one of the biggest keys to harmony and peace in our family. We called it keeping “short accounts.”

Forgiveness has nothing to do with how we feel, it is a choice we make. It’s not an emotional decision, it’s a heart choice.  Sometimes we have to make it, and make it, and make it, as many times as it takes until it sticks. Your choice will bring you the life-changing freedom that only true forgiveness can bring, if you stay consistent in making good choices in the thoughts you keep and the ones you discard.  Then you train your kids by your example.

We taught our kids that when they realized they did something unkind to one another, they needed to immediately go to the person involved and ask their forgiveness.  We taught them to say, “I was wrong for ________, will you forgive me?”  And hopefully the response would come back, “I forgive you.”   Remember, there is creative power in our words.  Important: once we forgave, we never brought it up again.  Just like Jesus.

We all lived by, when you blow it, man up and own it.  Ask forgiveness quickly so bitterness and unforgiveness never have the chance to take root.  “I was wrong, but you . . . “ just didn’t get it.  That was blaming – not owning in our household.  Any time you put a “but” in a sentence, you can forget anything that came before it.

Are you in a self-imposed prison of unforgiveness?  Now you have the key, use it and set yourself free.  Your example also holds the key to keeping your family free of this plague as well.

How to Have the Family You’ve Always Wanted – Part 6

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For some of us, it’s easy to focus on the 10% others do wrong instead of focusing on the 90% that they do right.

Unfortunately, what you focus on tends to get bigger. I believe a common reason people fall into the trap of focusing on the 10% deficiency is because that person is making them look bad.

This is especially common in the parent child relationship. The parent feels their child’s actions are a direct reflection on them. Basically, “You make me look bad.”

This was one I struggled with for a long time as a parent.  It boiled down to I was more concerned about what others thought of me.  I felt like my kids actions short of perfection reflected negatively on me.  It was not only selfish, I cheated my kids out of some valuable growth experiences.  If the truth be told, I probably added some scars to their souls as well.

The Bible flat out warns us not to go there.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” msg

What helped me to get over this, was when it happened to me.  It’s probably happened to you too.  I’m sure you can think of examples of when someone, a parent, a spouse, a boss, tended to focus on what you did wrong and never or rarely praised for what you did right.  What happened? I bet you felt defeated, or maybe it made you angry? Or, worst of all, did it make you want to give up?

Now, a little heart check, do you do to others what you hate having done to you?

I’m not advocating overlooking positive correction, but I’m recommending in all your relationships you focus far more of your energy on encouraging others in what they do right.

Proverbs 12:25 tells us, “Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!” TLB

We all have enough sources telling us everything we do wrong. The really great thing is when we focus on the 90% right, the 10% usually self corrects. So make a choice to affirm what others do right daily and tell them.