Continuing with our 1 Corinthians 13 study about love as it applies to mothers, we learn:
Love is not easily provoked: #3947. paroxuno, par-ox-oo’-no; from G3844 and a der. of G3691; to sharpen alongside, i.e. (fig.) to exasperate:–easily provoke, stir. OUCH! Do we become exasperated more quickly with our children than with anyone else? Is this love? Sometimes our tendency to become angry or frustrated with our children comes from a lack of wisdom. Anger rests in the bosom of fools (Ecc. 7:9). Understanding our children helps us to be slower to anger, and so does remembering our own weaknesses. We should do our best to think of a scripture that applies to the situation and that should give us the ammunition we need to overcome anger. “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health” (Pro. 12:18). How do we speak to our children when we correct them?
Thinketh no evil: #3049. logizomai, log-id’-zom-ahee; mid. from G3056; to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (lit. or fig.) (translated in other places counted, impute, reckon, account,) Evil: 2556. kakos, kak-os’; appar. a prim. word; worthless (intrinsically such; whereas G4190 prop. refers to effects), i.e. (subj.) depraved, or (obj.) injurious.
- “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think (#3049 logizomai) on these things” (Phil 4:8). This is not talking about rainbows, kittens, and puppies! This is talking about spiritually good things.
- “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart (the thinker); and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matt. 15:18-20).
- “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).
Do we encourage our children to think about good things, building them up, or is our conversation a discouragement, or something that tears them down? We not only need to consider what is right for ourselves, but we also must consider how their minds and consciences might be affected as well. What kinds of things do we discuss with our children?
- “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Rom. 14:19).
- “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Cor. 10:23-24).
It is not just what we say or think about. The definition of this word “thinketh” implies more. Do I think (take an inventory, count, evil or have injurious thoughts) toward my child? Do I want to hurt him because he makes me angry? Do I assume the worst about him or do I hope for the best? A small child who is continually told he’s bad may feel obligated to be bad. In contrast, if someone thinks (expects) the best of us, aren’t we more prone to try not to disappoint them? This is a very subtle but powerful emotion. However, it can’t be faked. If we think the worst of our child, they will know it, no matter how many flattering things we say later. We must learn to look for positive qualities in our child, and appreciate him despite his faults. (Not to be confused with refusing to believe anything negative about them that someone might point out!) We need to value our children in spite of their faults, just as we value ourselves. But in order to encourage growth, we need to acknowledge the child’s faults too and work on them. How can we help them grow and mature if we do not think they ever do anything wrong? Kids pick up on that mindset at an early age and figure they can get away with anything just because “Mother will never believe” they did wrong.
Rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth: If we knew there were a food that would certainly cause cancer, and another one that would prevent it entirely, don’t you think we would cultivate a distaste for the troublesome one and try to acquire a taste for the curative? We need to hate evil and love righteousness and truth, and cultivate these qualities in our children as well! First of all, we need to know the difference between good and evil before we can acquire a love for the good. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). We need to have pleasure in the Lord’s ways and be vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked every day (2 Pet. 2:7) instead of allowing our children access to “borderline” books and entertainments or even vanity (spiritual junk food). Remember what is said of the widow who loves this world “She that loveth pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1 Tim. 5:6). Should we try to give our children as much pleasure as possible and then expect them to turn away from all that as they get older? We must teach them to rejoice in the truth. We must rejoice in it ourselves, more than our necessary food “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). We can only do this by constant study.