On our way to church a few weeks ago, Mark asked me what I would say to teenage boys about making their home Christ-centered (he was giving a lesson on it that day). I started to share my initial thoughts, and he was sufficiently pleased by whatever I said that he asked me to jot it down after settling into our seats in church. Here’s a slightly edited version of what I wrote; I really like it:
If we think about Christ’s life when He was living on the earth, He was not surrounded by a bunch of perfect people. Likewise, we are also not surrounded by a bunch of perfect people. So, how did Christ feel about the people around him? What kinds of thoughts did He have about them? How did He treat them and talk to them and act around them? His ability to be Christlike had nothing to do with who the people around him were or what they did or what they acted like. He was truly Christlike in every circumstance. He had loving thoughts and actions always, even when (and especially when) it may have been expected by most (and even reasonable to most), to not be.
Having a Christlike home has very little to do with how other people behave and has everything to do with how you personally choose to think about and feel about the people around you.
There might be true turmoil and anger or other really negative things happening that make it difficult or seemingly impossible to invite loving feelings and actions. Christ has experienced those things too. He gets it. Know that your body is designed to be able to process negative emotion and Christ can help. As you get through the emotions (allowing yourself to experience them rather than pretending they aren’t there), you can move to a place where new thoughts that are helpful and empowering come into your mind. Christ can help with that too. New thoughts will create new feelings, triggering different actions, which will bring you different outcomes. The process is purely powerful.
I can’t possibly know what those empowering thoughts will be for anyone else, but here are two thoughts that help me and might be worth trying on: One thought is “they are doing the best they can,” and another thought is “this is part of my journey, and it’s okay.” Whatever thought you find, make sure that for you it is believable and it feels good. If it’s not believable or doesn’t feel good, then it’s not the right thought for you. You can find another one that works.
How grateful I am to know that Christ is my Savior and that his influence in my life enables me to be and become better. Progress is real. I know Christ loves me, and I can feel that love anytime I want to. It’s the best feeling in the world!