Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Many years ago, when my children were still in elementary school, Sunday mornings were always a “memorable” time for us as a family unit.

It seemed that no amount of planning ahead would get us all out of bed, fed, properly dressed, and out the door to Sunday School and church
in a timely fashion.

At times, it felt like “an unwelcome intruder” had entered our home, stirring up everyone’s emotions and causing conflict. Raised and angry voices may have put us out the door in time, but how effective do you think
the Sunday school lesson and the Sunday sermon were after such
an early morning display of impatience and anger?

Could it be that we sometimes find it is easier to be pleasant and kind to those with whom we come in contact OUTSIDE our home than to our family?
“Behind closed doors”, are we tempted to think it’s okay for us to “be ourselves”, “take off the mask”, “let our hair down”, or “just let it all hang out”?
If we were truthful, I think many of us would admit that we have been guilty at one time or another of being more courteous and polite to co-workers, friends, or even strangers than to our own family.
What is it about family life that causes us to become more demanding, more critical, and less forgiving with those who are dearer to us than anyone else?

According to the principles of God, harmony within our family is of great importance. Proverbs says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
It is amazing what a smile and a kind word will do to
transform the atmosphere in a home.

Strife tears down the “shield of faith” and its protection for our family. Anger stops prayer results… and invites satan and his “demonic sidekicks”
into our lives.
Discord and unforgiveness are deadly to any relationship. Allowing them to remain in our home and family environment can paralyze the
Power of God in our lives.

What happens when we don’t recognize what’s going on in our family, take responsibility for our own actions, and stop satan, the author of confusion” and the “accuser of the brethren”… from his plan to cause division in our homes?
James 3:16 says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion
and every evil work”.

As believers, we don’t want to allow the enemy access to our family by taking our anger and dissatisfaction out on those with whom we live, thus rendering ourselves powerless to overcome satan.
Let’s put the power of harmony to work in our homes and in our families. Let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes and to direct us to where we should begin.

It all comes back to the choices we make. Our intention should be to “tell the truth… in love”…. while at the same time, treating everyone with whom we interact… whether family, friend, or stranger… with the respect they deserve. Almost any message will be better received when it is spoken by a calm voice and in such a way that “builds up” instead of “tearing down”.

Sarcasm and criticism can do a lot of damage to a struggling individual. We need to stop and think before we speak, and make it a priority to be an "encourager" who leaves each one with whom we interact feeling more positive when we leave them than they were when we arrived.

In days gone by, I heard a comment that went something like this: “In future years, people may not remember what you said to them… but they will remember how you made them feel.”
Let’s stop and think before we speak. Words can cause damage that may never be restored.

I wish I could tell you that I have perfected the practice of always building others up instead of bringing them down. Perfected? No. But God has taught me to pause... to stop and think before I speak. Many times I am able to overcome the urge to have the last word or to say something that is not constructive or is hurtful. It's taken time... but God is faithful. His grace will help us overcome any habit or shortcoming that needs to be changed.

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Lord, please teach us to demonstrate the attitudes that Jesus taught so that our homes may become “sanctuaries” of love, peace, and safety for all of our family. Amen!


Special K said...

Oh my! Wonderful words of wisdom here! Thanks for sharing...I gotta figure out how to subscribe to your blog...I thought you just have blogged anything!

I have so missed your wisdom filled blogs!