The Bible affirms that a wife and children are a gift from the Lord. “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which he has given you under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9, AMP) and “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3, ESV).
Before going any further in that line of thought, however, admit that if you are the parent of a teenager in the midst of an existential crisis where everything is called into question, it is possible that you have wondered if this ‘gift’ was exchangeable, or at least refundable.
Take courage. Adolescence, like thunderstorms, eventually passes.
More seriously, though, I would like you to take hold of a supremely important realization for your family that could change your present and your future. Not only are children a gift from the Lord, but parents are called to be a gift from the Lord to their children. Let me share with you a practical tip from Ecclesiastes and the Psalms for your daily life.
Take pleasure in the woman you love. Gentlemen, the most amazing gift you can give your children every day is to love their mom. Give them the gift of seeing you rejoice and laugh with their mother. Be a gift of joy to your children by loving your wife. To love your wife is also to make a commitment before God to not argue in front of your children. There will always be sources of frustration and conflict, but make the decision to talk about it later, one-on-one, when the children are away.
We are human, and we have all failed to do this before. However, I encourage you to renew this covenant and to dedicate yourselves to this prayer: “Lord, put a guard over my mouth, and help me with my speech to my bride. Let my children not hear me verbally attack or denigrate their mother. On the contrary, let them hear and see me honoring her, loving her, appreciating her, valuing her and giving her affection.”
With this decision to keep the peace, our presence becomes a priceless gift from the Lord to our children. Let’s be gifts of forgiveness, patience and peace to our families. The model of our behavior will be the most impactful message in their lives.
Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.