Summary: This sermon shares the secrets to getting along in the family.

The Secrets for Getting Along

Ephesians 5:21

Last week we looked at What Women Wished Men Knew about Women. Today we turn our attention to the Secrets for Getting Along in the family. As Debbie pointed out, “The Family is the smallest unit of society, yet it plays a vital role in shaping the society that we live in.” Since the family is so important, we should do everything possible to strengthen the family unit. The family is a lot like a DNA strand, as long as everything is in its right place, everything is fine, but if something gets out of alignment, problems occur. I want to suggest to you there are three elements that need to be in their right place for a family to function as God designed it. These three elements are really three commitments; a commitment to love, a commitment to submission, and a commitment to God’s values. I would like for us to look at each of these three building blocks of a strong family.

First, a shared commitment to love

Rom 12:16-18

16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud,… Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

This whole text hangs on this word harmony. Paul tells us to live in harmony with one another, but what does harmony mean. Our English word arm comes from the same Greek root as h-a-r-m-o-n-y. The stem word is harmos, which means joint. Your arm is attached to your shoulder at its joint. In the same way, when you have a soprano, tenor, base, and alto, all singing the proper notes, their voices join together to create one sound, one song. If everyone sang the same notes, we’d have boring unison without any fuller, more harmonious sound. In a family, you have basses, sopranos and an altos all singing different notes. That is you have a different people with different backgrounds and different ways of looking at things. There will never be boring unison, but neither should there be continual discord. There are three ways of responding to disagreements.

Clamming Up. When we don’t get our way, we go about pouting. Sometimes we engage in this kind of game with each other, sending a barrage of non-verbal signals, hoping our partner will get the message. We sulk or mope around, wanting our spouse or children to feel guilty and to come and ask us about it, drawing us out, and eventually giving in to our way of thinking. Some of us claim up. But then some of us blow up.

Blowing Up. Some of us respond by Blowing up. But loud, angry arguments are almost always destructive. They can torpedo a family faster than anything else I know of. When we lose our tempers and say more than we should, we inflict wounds on the other person and on the family. We should not claim up, or blow up, we should wise up.

Wising Up. Here are two verses to clamp onto your refrigerator and memorize as personal rules for your family:

Proverbs 12:18 and Proverbs 15:18.

Proverbs 12:18

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

And Proverbs 15:18

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.

We are either going to harm or harmonize in our family. If we’re going to enjoy healthy relationships, we can’t clam up or blow up. We’ve got to wise up, If we learn to live in harmony with each other, we can make beautiful music together all our lives.

The only way we can harmonize, make beautiful music, is if we are committed to love, not like the young woman I read about.

Once a young man was kneeling before a beautiful young woman beside a placid lake. “Darling,” he said, “I want you to know that I love you more than life. I want you to marry me. I’m not a wealthy man. I don’t have a yacht, a Rolls-Royce or lots of money like Johnny Green, but I do love you with all my heart.” The young woman paused for a moment and said, “Darling, I love you with all my heart too. But before I say ‘yes,’ tell me a little more about Johnny Green.”

To harmonize we need to look for the best in our family. We could all learn a lesson from Ronald Reagan who told his wife Nancy in a letter, “I live in a permanent Christmas because God gave me you."

That is the result of a shared commitment to Love. But a shared commitment to love is not enough, we also need…

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