“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:24-25
We are all spending a lot more time at home than we normally do as a result of social distancing and business closures. Our kids are going to be home until the fall because of statewide school closures. I encourage you to be intentional in honoring the Lord over the next few months and accept this season as a blessing.
Jesus is right to say that a house divided cannot stand. When we are around each other at home for long periods, familiarity can breed contempt. If we do not exert good spiritual leadership in our homes they will quickly become toxic, full of bitterness, anger, and isolation. I encourage you to focus on certain Christian virtues and wise patterns during this extended time together that our homes may be unified, filled with joy, and productive for the glory of the Lord.
First, let’s give greater focus in prayer and application to being the loving father, mother, or child that we can be in Christ. Each day, think of those in your household as empty vessels. As you spend time with the Lord in His word, pray that the Holy Spirit will fill you with His love. With your heart full of God’s love, be intentional throughout the day through words of blessing, physical affection, and acts of service to fill up each person in your home with Christian love. By the end of the day may their empty cup be overflowing!
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
“Above all keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Second, freely ask for and grant forgiveness. We will offend and sin against each other as we live together in close quarters. Be quick to ask for forgiveness when you feel conviction. Do not let pride keep you from taking that step of humility. Be quick to fully forgive – without holding a grudge – when forgiveness is necessary.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
Third, establish healthy routines that will foster spiritual growth, education, exercise, and adequate sleep. As a part of these routines, I encourage you to make family devotions a high priority. This does not have to be complicated. I suggest choosing one meal a day. After eating, keep the entire family around the table. Choose a book of the Bible to work your way through – open to the family what book they would like to read. If an entire Old Testament book is too much, then just read about the events of one character’s life. Once per day, after your meal, pass the Bible around the table and have each person at the table read a portion of the chapter for that day. When you are finished discuss the chapter. Parents, have one or two questions prepared to spark conversation. After discussion pray for the day and needs that are on your prayer list. I suggest having different members of your family offer the opening and closing prayers. This is a good opportunity to coach them, and help them understand how they should pray in a non-threatening environment.
May the Lord continue to watch over us, and unify our families at this difficult time.
The love of Christ to you,