Start with the Prayer of Abandonment.
Thought for the day:
Because we are parenting two teenagers with emotional special needs, it can be hard not to react strongly and forcefully when one of the kids express a point of view that, on the face of it, seems rude or disrespectful. And, to be honest, my first impulse is (more often than I like to admit), “How DARE you speak to us like that! We’re your parents — show some respect!” Other days I’m a trifle more diplomatic: “Would you talk that way to your teacher? No? Well, I don’t like it, either!” Then it’s time to redirect, coach, or hand out a consequence.
As parents, we teach our children to respect authority for any number of reasons: because it makes it easier to guide them, because the Bible tells us to “Honor your father and mother,” and because we know they will need to know how to respect and respond to authority after they leave us — because employers, teachers, law enforcement officials, and others can and will level consequences far more serious than ours if they fail to follow the rules.
With marriage, it’s a bit different. Although the Scriptures tell us to submit to God (James 4:7) and to honor each other within the family order (1 Peter 3:1-7), the respect we offer a spouse not only honors the other person, but elevates our own dignity as well. Like Mother Teresa, when we feel least loving we can look into the eyes of our life’s partner and see “Jesus in distressing disguise.” Each time we do this, we shine with “imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4).
“Oh, Jesus, you know how hard it is to hear the hard words of those we love. Help me, just for today, to practice gentleness, kindness, and respect. Help me to meet today’s challenges with grace. Jesus, help me to see you in the eyes of my family today.”