When the first reaction is to be angry maybe our first reaction should be grace.
When the first reaction is to yell maybe our first action should be to hold.
When the first reaction is to leave maybe we should stay.
We call this the "safe place" or the "safe confession". I remember the day when my husband told me that he doesn't like confessing to me because my first reaction is to lecture, to yell, to discipline. (In fact I think I told him why he was wrong to feel that way after he told me.) To show my disappointment. When he already knew he was doing something wrong and he needed to come to me and get help. He needed his partner in life to not yell but to help. I have in no way mastered this. In fact to not yell at somethings almost is like going against the natural reaction. For instance, when your kids are hitting their sibling your first reaction is to tell them no and to yell STOP. But they need help walking through their feelings and why they are hitting their brother or sister. But then they get older and they start hiding things. We, as parents, want our children to feel comfortable with us to come to us with anything. But do we make it "safe" for them to confess or do they fear our reaction so much they run from us? Which if they run from us.... they usually are running to something worldly.
In Luke 15:11-32 (read it), it tells the story of the "Lost Son". It tells a story of how the Father fully accepts his lost son back. Instead of meeting the boy with, "WHY DID YOU LEAVE? WHY DID YOU LOSE ALL YOUR BELONGINGS? HOW COULD YOU?!" ... the boy was met by a father that ran to him with open arms and wanted him. In verse 17 it says, "he came to his senses", the boy had to realize what he was doing was wrong. Sometimes this takes time and it is really difficult but people have to realize what they are doing is in fact wrong. Then we need to be ready to "act in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Phil 1:27) when they come to their senses and help them back to the right behavior.
In John 8:1-11 (read it), it tells the story of the adulterous woman. She is standing before Jesus and I imagine she was covered up with just a robe, a blanket, or whatever... but she was caught in the act of adultery. And by the laws, they had the right to stone her. I always wonder where this man is because he too was caught in adultery and he should be being stoned too... (according to law). But Jesus bent down and started writing in the sand and said, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her"(vs. 7). He didn't say, "Why did you do that?" He didn't give a lecture. He didn't yell. Instead he surprised her and did something that was not normal, He showed Grace. But He didn't just show grace. He told her to "GO and sin no more". He knew she knew the consequences for what she did. He didn't need to tell her why she was wrong. And sometimes with our kids we need to inform them of the consequences because they are not thinking that far or they just do not know. But here, Jesus made it to where she could look into His eyes and see Grace. He didn't throw a stone... He threw a change.
In Acts 9:1-19 (read it), it discusses the story of Saul being confronted by Jesus. This time Christ asks a question, "Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?" Jesus did not come out of the Heavens yelling and screaming for Saul to stop. He didn't yank him of his horse and start spanking him. But He asked him a simple question. However, Jesus left Saul blinded for a little while. This is when I am reminded that Jesus does use punishments. Sometimes, it takes punishment to get us off of our track. Sometimes, it is needed. So when we find our kids doing something that could lead to them getting hurt, we punish them so they do not want to do it again. But then we discuss why they do not want to do it again. But Jesus remained calm and led Saul to Truth. And from that point on, Saul turned into Paul and became the author to most of the New Testament. But Jesus did not give Saul a reason to run. He did help Saul not be able to run (running blind would be kind of hard) and redirected him. Jesus stated it would not be easy to follow Him which is true. But in my experience Jesus has always made coming before Him in confession comfortable. I mean granted, I knew what I was confessing was horrible and that made me uncomfortable but going before Him and asking Him to help me has always been easy because never once has He pointed a finger at me but always has arms wide open and ready to help me.
I gave my husband a reason to run further into the worldly things because he feared how his "Godly" wife was going to react. How much was she going to yell and tell him what he was doing wrong when he already had guilt over it? I've learned the importance of "safe confessions" and I've also found that sometimes you just have to yield to the Holy Spirit to lead you in your reaction. Instead of reacting right away... to step back and ask the Spirit, "How should I handle this?" "Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ".
I've also found respect for the person confessing is a must. You must respect them. When Evelyn is doing something she shouldn't my favorite question for her is, "what should you have done?" And she will say, "I don't know" so I will wait there until she thinks of what she should have done or I will help her form what she should have done. But then I tell her, "I know you are capable of this. You can make the right decision. I expect you to make the good choice." Instead of telling her how bad she is, I try my best to focus on that she is capable of good and I respect her not to make her feel like she is worthless.
With Danny and I, I feel like when he has something he needs to confess... I do go lighter on him. :)
And so we create this place where we can confess to each other and it isn't as bad as getting "caught". So we make confessing and talking with each other about struggles easier than hiding. And that is where the safety is necessary. I would much rather see my children come to us and say they need help over hiding an addiction that could mess or take their life. But they won't do that if I give them an environment that makes confessing more miserable than hiding.