Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker, says that fame and fortune, as the world sees them, mean nothing to him. “I want to be famous in my home,” he says, “That is the greatest fortune.”
Gaining fame and respect from those who know you best is found in offering them the best in you. Showing respect and consideration toward one another should be one of the bedrock foundations of our homes – a high calling to treat those closest to us in a way that esteems them as honorable and deeply cared for.
All too often, we can be careful to extend the basic rules of etiquette to those who know nothing of who we really are, yet fill our homes with complaining, nagging, and condescension. But our homes ought to be known for the use of good manners and polite behaviors.
Here are some ways we can become famous with our family:
~ Put family second only to God. To live with sustainable authentic integrity requires maintaining a right relationship with God. Our familial relationships must come before any other earthly friendship (and our family needs to know it does), but our standing with the Lord must come before even our loved ones. God is the one who gives power to maintain all other relationships, so we must seek first His righteousness, then these things will be added to us (Matt. 6:33).
~ Give your full attention to them when they speak. Our family members should never have to ask us to notice them. They are worth our undivided attention.
~ Let them hear you pray for them. My husband and I have made a habit of praying together each morning, and there is not much sweeter sound on earth than hearing someone you love pray for you. Praying for others in their presence lets them know that you hear their deepest needs and desires, and that you care enough to come boldly before the throne of grace for them.
~ Say please when asking for anything – no matter how trivial, and verbalize appreciation when you receive something by saying thank you. This isn’t just for kids, it’s for adults, too. We shouldn’t tell our children to say these “magic words”, and then refuse to act politely ourselves.
~ Always speak the truth in love. I am always truthful – always. But I must confess: I am not always loving when I tell the truth. My prayer is that gentle honesty will reign in my home – and in my tongue.
~ Speak the truth. While we must be kind, our loved ones need us to watch out for them; to love them enough to speak truth into their lives. If we see them slipping into sin, forming unhealthy habits, or giving place to the devil, we must treasure their hearts enough to risk their displeasure, because we cannot risk their souls. And we must be open to their admonition, too.
~ Allow others to finish their sentences without interrupting. This is another big challenge for me! I am quick to interrupt, but James 1:19 tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. We should also listen with full intent to understand their point through their eyes. Love is patient (1 Cor. 13:4)!
~ Be quick to apologize for offenses, even the ones where we just don’t understand how someone could become offended over what we did. We don’t always have to understand exactly what we did or even believe that we were wrong, but if we have offended those we love, then we need to ask their forgiveness.
~ Never talk against family members or make fun of them in public. Airing dirty laundry and intentional embarrassment are poison to familial relationships. I have heard wives defend talking against their husbands by saying they’re just “being realistic”. I have yet to find scripture to justify or advocate that position.
~ Spend more of your free time with them than anyone else. We’ve all heard that quality time matters more than the quantity, but that isn’t true. The merit of the opportunities are hidden in the volume of the time spent.
~ Give them the gift of pointing them to the Savior. No spouse or parent or sibling or friend can give enough love and grace and space and time. God so loved your family that He gave of His family to save and deliver them from the enemy of their souls, and to adopt them as His own.
~ Thank God for them every day – and tell them how grateful you are for them.
Please tell me, what would you add to this list?