Are you prone to bringing work and frustrations home with you and spoiling your time with your wife and kids because somebody, somewhere, has really gotten under your skin? Do you come into the house grumpy, irritable, and cold? Do you blow right by your spouse and kids hoping to just crash on the couch, turn on the TV, and zone out? After dinner, does your family assume that you’ve just checked out for the evening?
A few years ago while my family and I were living in Georgia, I was coming home night after night rehearsing the same problem again and again. And then it hit me – no matter how many times I played the tape in my head, the story was the same and had no ending. It was taking away priceless minutes with my wife and, therefore, our marriage was being robbed from the outside. How in the world can someone steal joy out of your living room and not even be physically in the house? Answer: By living in your mind.
For me, bitterness started to set in.
So it was time to stop the tape and simply bring my bad habit to an end.
The only way out was one of repentance. I couldn’t change or lead the people who were making my life hell, but I could, by God’s grace, change my behavior and be led by the Holy Spirit, and seek to lead my family well.
I started to realize that repentance is more than simply acknowledging an issue with your mind. Repentance is also accompanied by a change of action too. Thus, maybe because I’m a man, I oftentimes need to see things with my eyes for a real change to be affected. This may sound silly to you, but I decided to do something that we’ve been grateful for ever since.
One evening I came home, got a piece of paper out, and sat down with my wife, Jana, at the dinner table and wrote down what was robbing me/us of joy. I simply put them in bullet points:
* false doctrine
We acknowledged these things for what they really were. Sins against me and sins against God. We sat there and just looked at them and let that pain bubble up to the surface for a few minutes. Then, at the top of the page I wrote “Christus Victor” (Christ is our Victor) in huge letters, signed our names at the bottom, acknowledging that the chaos we were experiencing was more than a battle against flesh and blood – we are at war with Satan. By signing this page, we acknowledged Paul’s words to the Romans that the “God of peace would soon crush Satan under our feet” (Rom. 16.20). We then took it to our back step (the door we used most), picked up the doormat where we wiped our feet, and put the page under it. Then we prayed that from then on, as we would walk into our home, we would wipe our feet on the lies of the enemy, the lies of our flesh, and the lies of others because Jesus is our Victor and wants us to enjoy the evenings cooking, snuggling, and laughing together.
Christian, your evenings at home are priceless and the Enemy wants them all. Your method for remembering this may be different than mine, but make sure to wipe your feet of your troubles before you enter your home so that you enjoy what Jesus wants you to enjoy, namely his presence, and real rest.