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Summary: Is there conflict in your family? Are there disagreements and arguments that seem to tear down the very home you want to build? God has a formula for solving that. Do you know what it is?

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OPEN: Years ago there was a great show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” and it featured Art Linkletter asking several children their views on life. What was intriguing was the way in which the children saw life. Recently somebody interviewed a number of young children asking them what they believed about marriage and love and families

1. Asked about their idea of love, Kenny - age 7 - It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.

2. Diana, age 10 - I’m not rushing into love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.

3. Ava, age 8 - One of you should know how to write a check. Because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.

4. Manuel, age 8 - I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be painful.

5. Derrick, age 8 was asked: “How can a stranger tell if two people are married?”

Answer: “You might have to guess based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.”

6. Lori, age 8 was asked: “What do you think your mom and dad have in common?”

Answer: “Both don’t want no more kids.”

7. And Ricky age 7 answered the following question: “What would you suggest to make a

marriage work?”

Answer: “Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck!” (Ricky, 7)

The beauty of children is that they often understand life better than many adults and what the answer of these kids reveal is that they’ve understood just how hard love can be. And they’ve understood that creating an atmosphere of love inside of families can be difficult and complicated. NOT IMPOSSIBLE… just complicated.

As one child once prayed to God: “I bet it is very hard for you to love everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.” -Nan

APPLY: People get married all the time. They have kids and raise a family. And in their heart of hearts they hold forth the dream that their family/home will be a place where love and honor and respect create a shelter of protection against a world that is often cruel and harsh.

They want to come home and relax and know they are safe.

How can we create that kind of family? How can we fashion our homes so that places where love and respect are the rule… and anger and yelling are the exception?

I. The Bible tells us that the place we should start is with God

Ephesians 5:1-2 says “Be imitators of God… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We learn by imitation. And it is a hard and fast rule that if a child’s parents resolve their problems by yelling at each other that’s how they’ll deal with their family when conflicts arise

If a child is raised in a home where one parent is abusive (verbally or physically) - when they become parents they too are likely to become abusive.

But God tell us: “I don’t want you to be like that. I don’t want you to be harsh, cruel or abusive with the people around you. I want you to live a life of love.”

That’s true not just when we’re at church… not just when we’re at work… not just when we’re interacting with the people in our neighborhood… but it should especially be true when you and I are at home with our families.

Whenever we show the love of Christ to our husbands/ wives/ children/ parents - we are offering up a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. God is pleased with us because that shows that we’ve understood His priority in our lives

As 1 John 4:11-12 declares: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

II. But, how did He love us???

1st - God loved us by taking 1st step

1 John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Indeed Romans 5:10 tells us that “…when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…”

God loved us before we ever did anything to deserve it.

God loved us when we weren’t all that attractive

SO, what does that teach us???

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