Are You Willing To Hold Yourself In Contempt?

Are You Willing To Hold Yourself In Contempt?

I saw in the paper today that a local judge held himself in contempt in his own court!  This judge doesn’t like his courtroom interrupted by the ring tones of cell phones.  So he has a rule that everyone in his court will have their cell phone turned off or silenced.  If a cell phone goes off during a court proceeding, the negligent owner has to pay a $50 fine and has to hand over his phone.  Well, guess whose cell phone went off on Monday?  The judge promptly stopped the proceeding, opened his wallet, and handed $50 to the court officer for his fine.  “Why would I treat myself any different?” asked the judge.  ”That would make me a hypocrite.”

We parents can take a cue from that judge.  For example, we may get after our kids about making us late by not being ready to go when we need to leave the house.  But do we admit our own negligence when they are ready to leave for soccer practice and we are late leaving because we didn’t finish a phone conversation or wrap up a home project when we should have?   We bust our kids for screaming at their siblings, but do we confess our sin when we lose our tempers at them?   We don’t let our kids get away with blowing off homework or assigned household chores, but do we say we are sorry when we have blown off parenting duties- like helping them with homework or taking to time to communicate with them more deeply than “How was your day?”   If we expect our kids to admit when they have done wrong, shouldn’t we say with that judge, “Why would I treat myself any different?  That would make me a hypocrite.”


That is a pretty significant point, isn’t it?  We don’t want to be hypocrites.  We don’t want to expect behaviors from our kids we didn’t expect of ourselves.  We don’t want to teach them to own up to their faults and sins, while we excuse ours.  For if they see us as hypocrites, they may see our faith as just a hypocritical sham; they may ultimately see the Savior we claim is our life and salvation as a fraud.  One of the biggest reasons young people give for turning away from the Christian faith is the hypocrisy they see in the church and, yes, in their own families too.


So let’s be willing to hold ourselves in contempt in the court of our own homes.  Let’s admit the obvious truth about ourselves: we are sinners who fall short in God-pleasing words and behavior every day.  Let’s confess our sins against our kids to them and seek their forgiveness, as we encourage them to confess their sins against us to us and seek our forgiveness- just as we all confess our sins to Jesus daily and seek his forgiveness.


Such humility and honesty will lead our children to respect us a lot more than hypocritical, dictatorial rule. Family love and harmony will grow when we all admit that we are sinners who need Jesus and together seek his forgiveness and rejoice in having it- and sharing it with each other. Our children will learn a valuable lesson about how relationships cannot thrive without humility, honesty, confession, and forgiveness. More important, they will be reminded often about how blessed they are to have Jesus and his forgiveness, and strength from him to turn from sin!