You were made for this: maintaining harmony in your home
God has given you a life vision and a purpose. But you can’t fulfill that vision until you clearly see it. In this series, we look at the transforming power of vision by describing the consequences of an unclear vision and revealing the antidote to fear in pursuing the future God has planned for you.
Something To Talk About:
- Reserve judgment until I know all the facts and the whole story: Too many gullible people believe anything they hear or anything they read on social media without knowing the complete story. Proverbs 3:21 says, “My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.” Common sense and discernment. In other words, don’t throw away your common sense. Don’t be gullible. Don’t believe everything you hear. You’re going to have conflict when you make snap judgments. How many times have you assumed something with your spouse or a friend or somebody else and you got into trouble over it? Don’t make snap judgments. Don’t be so quick to condemn, criticize. Don’t assume that you know people’s motivation because you don’t. Don’t assume you’ve heard the whole story. When you assume you’ve heard the whole story and you know all the facts and you jump to conclusions, it’s going to create conflict. Proverbs 18:13 says this, in the Living Bible, “What a shame. Yes, how stupid to decide before knowing the facts.” Don’t decide before knowing all the facts. Don’t rush to judgment before you hear the whole story.
- Be sensitive and empathetic to what offends others: Now the Bible’s got a ton of things to say about this. 1 Corinthians 10:32 (AMP) says “Do not offend Jews or Greeks or even the church of God [but live to honor Him];” It’s easy to offend everybody these days. Everybody feels like a victim. Everybody is offended by everything. We all get offended easily and we all offend others easily. But in that context, God tells us that if we’re truly Christians and we’re really trying to be Christ-like, we are called to do two things. First, we’re not to take offense from others. A lot of verses basically tell us don’t let ourselves be offended by anything. Second, we don’t do anything that causes others to be offended. Those are marks of a Christian. Can you quickly think of five things that you do that offend your spouse? Can you do that? If you can’t think of five things that offend your spouse just ask them. They’ll be glad to tell you. It’s far easier for you to think of five things that other people do that offend you. You can do that. That’s human nature. I can think of things that offend me. I have a hard time thinking of things that I do to offend others. But this second principle of harmony is to be sympathetic and empathetic instead of being defensive when we cause an offense. 1 Peter 3:8 says this: ” Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” Live in harmony and be sympathetic. We need to be sympathetic to the things that offend other people
- Limit my freedom out of love: Galatians 5:13-16. “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” Paul says if instead of showing love you’re always biting and devouring one another, watch out. You’ll destroy each other. In other words, limit your freedom in love. This principle of limiting our freedom out of love is one that God expects us to practice both with Christians and with non-Christians.
- Always be humble and kind: Philippians 2:3, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” People respond differently to stress and differently to pressure. Under stress, nice people become nicer and patient people become more patient. Under stress, mean people become meaner. Bullies become bigger bullies. Angry people become angrier. Opinionated people become more opinionated. Whatever is inside of you is what’s going to come out when you’re under pressure. Romans 12:16 says this: “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” Do you do that? Do you give equal respect to everybody alike? This is what humility is all about. Be humble and meet people on their own terms. Don’t think you know it all. Proverbs 3:3 in the New American Standard says this: “Not only should we be humble, but we have to be kind.” Ephesians 4:29 says this: “…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” In other words, we are supposed to talk about what builds people up, meets their needs, and never anything that tears down.
- What does living in harmony mean to you?
- Think of a time when you made a decision, took an action, or spoke words without knowing the whole story. How can we use God’s word to help us discern truth and avoid repeating the same patterns?
- What causes us to be less sensitive and empathetic to what offends others, and what can we do better? How can we get help from the Holy Spirit to change our underlying attitude?
- Matthew 5:25 tells us to settle matters with our adversaries quickly. What can happen when conflicts are not resolved quickly?
- Which is more important, to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ or to be right? What does it look like to limit our freedom in love?
- Read Philippians 2:3-4. How do these verses describe humility? Why is it hard for us not to think about ourselves first?
- How do humility and kindness diffuse an explosive situation? How do they change the way you speak to others?
- How can you nurture humility in your life?
- What point in this message was most impactful for you?
- What do you think? How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” — Romans 12:15-16
As Christ’s followers, we must remember how our relationship with God affects our relationships with each other. When we pray, “Our Father,” we acknowledge that we are part of a family that includes other believers. We’re called to live in harmony together, honoring one another above ourselves, holding to what is good, praying faithfully, sharing with people in need, showing hospitality, and not being proud.