This week we’re going to look at three areas that we hope this life of compassion will begin to work in; family, home church, community. I’ll come back to this gimmick often because I think it’s helpfully to look at how this works in the many different facets of life.
Today we’re looking at family and we won’t go any further than my own home for this one.
My wife Sarah is a great example.
What does compassion look like in a family? It looks like Sarah.
Here’s what we try (a far heavier emphasis on the try for me than Sarah but I’m getting better).
Sarah puts me first. Not just in certain things or in small things but in basically everything Sarah puts me first. As opposed to it being the oddity it’s the norm.
I try to do the same but I honestly don’t think I’m anywhere close to as good at it as she is. But because we love each other we try really hard to always put the other first.
Again what does that look like and why is it important?
It’s important because if the other members of the family are always trying to put you first you don’t have to ask or demand for what you ‘deserve’. You don’t have to say things like ‘I work all day long I just need a break’ or ‘I wish someone would just help me with this.’
Instead you’ll get what you deserve and more.
It’s Sarah saying to me ‘you’ve had a long day go watch TV’ even after she’s had a long day too. It’s Sarah collecting the garbage, even though it’s my job (we’ve divide up the house work so nothing get missed). It’s Sarah saying ‘I’ve got Nolan tonight’ even after she’s had him all day long.
But why the system works is because I clean the washrooms, even though it’s her job.
I don’t have to demand or state how deserving I am of a day to sleep in. Sarah graciously offers them to me. But it works because I do the same back.
It works because when I hear Sarah tidying I help. I could not help and Sarah wouldn’t be upset at all. But I try to put her first so I go and help.
And it’s a balance. You have to be willing to accept the grace and love from the others. I may get up to and help Sarah tidy but she may also say ‘it’s ok I’ve got this just sit’. We’re both putting the other first. I may be doing the dishes after dinner and tell Sarah ‘go read I’ve got this’ even after she’s started to help. Neither takes advantage of the other. We know what each other needs and we put those needs before our own.
Or at least that’s the goal. I’ve got more than a few stories of miss steps on this one.
If everyone is trying to always put the other members first it’s a loving, gracious, generous home to be in.
Try as a whole family to put everyone else before yourself. You worry about them and they’ll worry about you.