Last week you had the assignment to kick strife out of your home… and maybe you even changed the locks! Now, lest you get the idea that your home will always be conflict free, let me remind you that when you put two sinners under the same roof, there will be conflict! You might remember when the Apostle Paul and Uncle Barnabas disagreed with what to do about ‘the nephew’, Acts 15. Two of the most godly men you’d every meet, but they disagreed and it got a little intense! Maybe one of these days we can think about how to have a ‘Fair Fight’.
My point on strife has to do with the warzone in your home created by ungodly attitudes and behavior: pride, carnality, lust, corrupt communication and uncontrolled anger. Paul tells us we must ‘put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…’ That kind of strife is what characterized a man BEFORE he met Christ. After Christ, we are not to be deceived by our habits, i.e. justifying them, making excuses for them, shifting the blame. Kick that kind of communication out of the house!
Jesus told of a man who was freed from demonic possession, but left a vacuum in his heart and it wasn’t long before seven more demons showed up and the man was worse off than ever, Luke 11. So it’s not enough to evict strife, we must replace it – purposefully. In those same verses from my Bible we find out how to communicate without strife:
Proverbs 13:10b, ‘…with the well advised is wisdom.’ It means we are to give and take counsel. Pride says, ‘I know it all.’ Wisdom says, ‘Tell me how you see it, I’m listening.’
1 Corinthians 3. The carnal man says, “I’m the most important person in the home.” The wise man says, “It’s not me, nor my wife, nor my kids who are the most important in my home. It’s God!” There’s a plaque in our home that I read quite often, “Home: where each lives for the other and all live for God.” Who is truly the focus in your home?
James 4. Lusts, uncontrolled desires, create wars in the home. James admonishes us by God ‘giveth grace to the humble.’ Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3, we are to bow before God each day, every hour of the day. Jesus warned us that we would serve someone or something, better for your home if you serve Christ and not yourself.
Lastly Paul tells us, Ephesians 4, we are to put on new habits of communication, like we’d put on a new jacket: speak the truth lovingly; focus on the needs of others; use words that build the family, not tear it down; “and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Think about it.