A dad that had both of his kids get engaged this past year is now enjoying dialogue with them as they move forward with premarital counseling. The goals of the counseling programs are to affirm what God has brought together and encourage engagement in some tough conversations that may not surface during what Gary Chapman, author of the Five Love Languages labels the “tingly love” phase of the relationship.
There is a lesson here for a tense populace facing health, economic and political challenges. First is to affirm ourselves as Americans blessed to be able to pursue the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Second is to make time to engage in tough conversations with family members and others in our circles. Current events, science, politics and pronouns deserve to be aired without anger or judgement.
So the spies questioned Him: “Teacher, we know that You speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” – Luke 20:21-25. The chief priests had sent spies to trap Jesus into speaking against Caesar. Jesus diffused the bomb the spies wanted to set off with no anger and no judgement. He showed respect for Caesar’s authority in his kingdom and honor for God’s authority in His Kingdom. There were no extreme positions taken, no selective video segments played, no demonizing of an opponent. Jesus simply engaged others with His eyes on eternity with His Father. For proper perspective today, the call is to engage others in conversation with your eyes on eternity with the Lord.
E pluribus unum, “Out of many, one” was considered the de facto motto of the United States until Congress passed an act adopting “In God we trust” as the official motto in 1956. Both are worth embracing as all realize there is more that unites “we the people” than divides us. Maybe after 245 years, we could use some marital counseling.
Tips to engage in conversation:
- Read Luke 20:21-25 as a family and discuss Jesus’ response. How can you emulate Jesus when facing folks hellbent on confrontation?
- Dedicate regular one-on-one time to converse as a couple, with family and friends;
- Have mock debates as a family with respect for both sides of an issue;
- Check out Del Tackett’s Engagement Project;
- Pray daily for your family, church, city and nation.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Word and Your example. I confess that I too often allow conversations to percolate into arguments. Arguments then stir up anger and the point of the conversation is lost. Forgive me. I want to emulate Your example to engage folks – to meet individuals where they are, listen well and keep all discussion grounded in Your word. Help me start in my family and with those closest to me. Grant me discernment to engage others in conversation before extreme positions destroy the dialogue. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father engages others in conversation with his eyes on eternity.