// Lynette Hagin
The Lord wants us to live in peace. The scriptures give us this admonition quite frequently. For example, John 16:33 (NKJV) says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have PEACE." Yet it seems that peace often does not reign in our lives.
I am shocked at the turmoil that exists in the homes of many Christians. Our homes should be places of peace. They should be shelters for us in the midst of troubles in the world. Family members should unite and stand with each other. However, the enemy is playing havoc in the homes of Christians; it is one of his oldest schemes.
The Church at Corinth was suffering from such strife within it that the Apostle Paul had to remind the members, "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Cor. 13:11). I believe we should take a hint from Paul's words and adopt the following as our family motto: "Be of one mind. Live in peace."
In order to live out that instruction from Paul, we must learn to communicate effectively with others, beginning with our spouse and our children. Communication is often the most difficult skill to master, because we can experience so many different emotions when we are communicating our thoughts and feelings. Paul talked about that in Ephesians 4:26–27: "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil."
This sounds like a contradictory statement—"be angry and sin not"—but it isn't. The Lord knows that anger is one of the emotions we experience in life. Yet He tells us, "Although you may be feeling angry, do not sin." Exactly what does that mean?
I like the way The Message Bible explains those verses. It says, "Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life." Yes, you may experience angry feelings. But don't use those feelings to get even. In the midst of anger, you might say words that you don't really mean, but those cutting words will forever ring in the ears of the recipient.
Life is too short to live in constant turmoil in your home. That holds true regarding your relationships with friends and other loved ones as well.
My husband and I have been married nearly 50 years, so I can offer you some lessons that I've learned from experience. I believe that following this advice will enhance your marriage journey. (It can also be applied to your relationships with others.)
1. Communicate your feelings and frustrations without getting upset.
2. Communicate honestly.
3. Choose your words carefully.
4. Don't use degrading language. Use words that convey love.
5. Communicate with your spouse as you would with a friend.
6. Resolve your problems before you go to bed.
7. Choose your battles, and overlook minor issues.
8. Realize that some things will not change, so accept them.
My husband and I have practiced these guidelines over the years. I will not pretend that we perfected them overnight. But as we began to practice these principles, we found that peace continually reigned in our home. As each of us was willing to readily say, "I'm sorry; forgive me" (words you can say to anyone in your life), the conflict was easily resolved.
I encourage you to start practicing the love walk in your home. Make it a place of comfort and refuge. Don't allow the enemy to bring strife into your life. Recognize the source of that strife and do not give place to it.
Make Christ the center of your home. When we place Him first in our homes, marriages, and other relationships, every hostile wall will be broken down and the love of God will rule and reign in our lives.