It was 1976 and a pastor from Wyoming came to our home in Iowa to interview us for an assistant pastor position in his church. One of the questions he asked startled me and has stayed with me. “Do you and your wife ever fight?”
What would you say? If I tell him ‘Yes’, will the interview be over? If I tell him ‘No’, will he believe me, because I’d be lying?! Well, I took a look at Debbie and then at him and said with chagrin and hesitancy, ‘Yes… we do from time to time.’ There! The truth was out and the interview was going to come to a close, but to my surprise the pastor said, “Good. If you had said ‘No’, I’d know you were lying.” Well, we didn’t get the call to his church, but I did ‘feel good’ about telling the truth, that ‘yes, we argue.’ Perhaps this is the sad part about it all… forty years later, we still do! Color my face a little on the red side, but it’s the truth.
As I said before, when you put two sinners under the same roof, you’re going to have conflict. However, God has given us the ability to work through those conflicts by Part 1 – ‘putting off the old man’ and Part 2 – ‘putting on the new man’. Today, I’m thinking about ‘Part 3’ when it comes to strife, conflict, arguments, fighting in our homes. Part 3 is we need to think about them differently than we have in the past. So, follow me back to the Bible and let’s think about conflict… differently.
Proverbs 13:10, pride leads to conflict, good counsel leads to wisdom. God put the two of you together and the synchronization of your ideas will lead to greater wisdom for your home. Ok, I’m going to say it. Think… “Two heads are better than one!”
1 Corinthians 3:3f., carnality demands to be right, to be the most important. Maturity says, I don’t have to be right, except to be right with God. Think… “Christ is the most important person in our home.”
James 4 warns us to not let our desires be out of control, rather submit those desires to God and He will give us the grace, the ability to handle our differences. Think… “How can I glorify God?”
And lastly, according to Ephesians 4, when it comes to strife in our homes, here’s how we need to handle it… I will tell you the truth in love, because we are one flesh, we are one family. I will use words that build you up, encourage you, so the Holy Spirit is not grieved by our behavior. I will not try to hurt you, but I’ll be kind to you, gentle toward you and when needed, forgive you, because God for Christ’s sake has forgiven me for all my sin. Think… “I will treat you like Christ treats me.”
Part 1, Put off the old man. Part 2, Put on the new man. Part 3, Think differently about the strife in your home. Please, for the sake of your family and for the glory of God…
Think about it.