(Continuing with highlights from The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit, by Matthew Henry.)
“The design of Christ and of his holy religion is to shape men into a mild and merciful temper, and to make them sensibly tender of the lives and comforts even of their worst enemies”
If this is true, that God wants us to be kind and loving to our enemies (which He does), then how much more does He want us to be kind and loving to our own children? It seems like much of a mother’s provocation comes not from her enemies or neighbors, but from the little fat faces running amok in her home.
“But while you are governing others, learn to govern yourselves, and do not disorder your own souls under the pretense of keeping order in your families.”
That about sums it up. How in the world do we expect to teach our children to be meek and quiet as they obey us, if we are not being meek and quiet as we are “governing” them? It makes much more sense to get ourselves under control first. Then we are fit to teach and guide them.
A mother who is firing out commands to her children, bossing them within an inch of their lives, has a disordered soul. Her kids may march into church in a nice line, but it is a pretense. How much better to keep our hearts in line!
We’ve all seen the mom screaming at her kids in the store, right? Who is it that needs to be taken out to the car for a spank? It’s not the kid. And the mom is so much older and “wiser” and bigger. How could she let a little person move her to such wrath? It makes no sense. We must learn to govern our own souls.
Meekness teaches us to hold our tongue until we have something profitable to say. Henry says, “If the heart be angry, angry words will but inflame it the more…When the spirits are in a ferment, though it may be some present pain to check and suppress them, and the headstrong passions hardly admit the bridle, yet afterward it will be no grief of heart to us.”
Meekness means humility toward our children, considering their frames, and knowing our own hearts. If you make a list of rules or chores for the kids, and you hang it on the fridge, be sure to make another one for yourself. Keep your cool. Don’t be tyrannical. Don’t be angry or agitated or annoyed or provoked. Let meekness and quietness rule your heart and mind.