Leading Homes in Challenging Circumstances
Command – Dignity for all (Gen 1: 26 – 31)
God gives man dominion over all creation but does not give man dominion over any other human being, whether male or female. Why? Because they are made in his own image. How we treat the people in our home, regardless of how they have come to us, must consider the fact that they are made in His image as a starting point
Commandment: Honour for our Parents (Deut 5: 16)
We are duty bound to take care of our parents as part of honouring them. When we take them into our home, willingly or out of difficult circumstances, we must do this with honour. We need to be careful how we communicate to them and how we communicate about them (especially with our children). However we must consider the fact that their new dependant state can rob them of their dignity. And this can make them very uncomfortable. We need to look at how we can care for them and honour them without robbing them of their dignity as well as keeping the core of your family.
Compassion: Seeing and feeling with the eyes and heart of Jesus (Matt 9: 35 – 38)
Hosting and caring for other people can be tedious and resource draining all round. Living with these people makes you come face to face with their shortcomings. And some can have a sense of entitlement and be more demanding than your own children. But we need to see like Jesus did – beyond the fact that those who followed Him really were in it for themselves (bread). He saw beyond that a d saw people harassed and helpless. His response was to have compassion because of their state. But that does not mean taking anything and everything! There must be boundaries and if they are consistently crossed, consequences must follow. This also means that where applicable, you state expectations and make those boundaries clear.
Commission: This is a harvest field (Matt 9: 35 – 38)
Beyond the response of compassion, Jesus moves into action and asks His disciple to pray to him that people are mobilised into action to remedy the situation. Well, in this case, we are not being sent. People have already been sent to us. Our homes become a harvest field. Our daily lives and our daily responses, including tough love, become our message and our witness.
Communion: Agreement in doing this together
If the key leaders of the home, primarily the parental couple are not agreed on this, it will fall apart. There must be time taken in discussing anybody new introduced into the home, regardless of where they have come from. The discussion must involve level of responsibilities from the heads, expectations and boundaries and who explains and enforces these, resource allocation and more than anything else, an exit plan where applicable. If there is agreement on earth, there is a blessing because there is also agreement in heaven.
Our labour shall not be in vain. There is a blessing in this and God will not forget you and more than anything else, your children. It is more than Ubuntu, it is being God’s hand and feet.