I was watching the show Wife Swap the other day and found a spiritual lesson that was unexpected.
Most of you are familiar with the premise of the show, two women with radically different lifestyles and families agree to swap houses for two weeks in the hope that they will not only broaden their horizons but that their families will be enriched by living a different life. For the first week, it’s ‘house rules’ and the wives must follow their host family’s lifestyle. The second week, the wives get to impose their rules, and the host family must follow them.
As you know, it doesn’t always work that way.
When it came time to change the house rules, the father of one of the families had a meltdown, and I mean complete. He yelled and screamed and called the other wife insulting names, degraded her lifestyle choices and brought her to tears, which then brought his children to tears, and I must admit, even though it was only a tv show, brought me to tears.
His oldest daughter, who was only 14 or 15 years old, told the camera, “My Dad sucks. He calls himself a Christian but he called her the meanest names. No one should be treated that way.”
Her words made me pause and think for a moment, and to be truthful, I found myself feeling a bit uneasy at how close they hit home.
As wives and mothers we have a unique opportunity to reach a harvest field that is, quite often, forgotten. I know in my own life sometimes it’s easy to forget that how I treat my family is going to shape the way they view Christianity. It’s so easy to make excuses for our poor behavior or lack of manners at home because after all, our home should be the one place we can let go and just ‘be ourselves.’
The problem is that ‘self’ isn’t always so pleasing to God.
In our church world we focus so much on reaching the ‘unchurched’ people of the world that sometimes we forget the harvest field right in our own homes. All of our energy and time is spent on outreaches and helping the poor, but what good is all of that if we aren’t careful to reach the ones we live with? Do we model the Christ we preach to our children and spouses, or would they too say that we suck as Christians?