When my two boys were quite a bit younger, maybe 8 and 10, they got into an argument about something. My younger son felt he was the offended party, and when he did not get satisfaction for his concerns, he waited outside the bathroom door for his brother to emerge, wherepon he jumped him from behind.
There was screaming. There was crying. There was yelling. There were two little boys rolling around on the floor in the fetal position.
I listened to their sobbing explanations of what went on. The solution was quite simple. You are both being selfish. You are both being unloving. Neither of you wants to overlook an offense. You are both wrong, you've both sinned in this. Go to your rooms and calm down and then make up.
Boys make up easy. If it was two girls, the assult would have been much more drawn out; perhaps nasty notes and hissing insults over a period of days. The climax would maybe have taken physical dimensions, but more likely something verbal, words that could echo in the listener's ears for weeks. The making up part would have taken longer.
Recently, those same two boys, now 18 and 20, had a spat via the wonders of text messaging. Older son is away from home where his school is, dwelling in a stinky house with boys who aren't fussy about having garbage bags at the front door, and don't like to wash dishes. On the day of the argument, I was here with the younger boy, while unknown to him, my husband was at the Man Cave with the older boy working on something with him. I heard one side, my husband heard the other.
I listened to the indignation of my son. He wanted me to agree with him, to take his side. My only words to him was that the matter they were arguing over was not something to get in the way of a brotherly relationship.
So, where was my discussion about having a sinful heart, and his failure in letting Jesus control him?
You don't settle the arguments of two young men; you let them work it out on their own. They know what is right and wrong. They don't need to tell me they were wrong. This is where, as they say, the rubber meets the road. Have we taught them well? Can they make godly decisions? The reality is that they have to, because they need to take ownership of their faith and live it out in relationships with others all on their own.
When we are young mothers, we often micromanage our kids' disagreements because we don't want them to hold grudges. We want them to learn how to get along, and we may nurse secret fears that their bad behaviour is the road to landing in jail, or worse, doing something wrong in front of an elder or pastor. You can't micromanage boys who for all intents and purposes are adults. If it was a serious issue and they asked our counsel, we'd give it, but part of mothering older kids is letting them work things out on their own.
And just because they've heard the gospel all of their lives, it does not mean they will make the right choice. Daily, Christians who have heard the Word all of their lives make poor and wrong decisions. Our kids will too, no matter how often they were in Sunday school, church, had bible reading, or watched Psalty the Singing Songbook.
I'm not sure what the resolution to that dispute was. The last time my older boy was home, they seemed fine. I assume they made things up. But as a parent, part of releasing child is backing up and letting them be adults. We can't complain about our boys refusing to grow up if we don't give them expectation to do so.