Strife in a family can destroy it.
We know what Solomon penned,
“Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).
For this reason, as Solomon comments,
“Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17).
God calls us to defuse strife:
Abandoning the quarrel defuses strife!
“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14)
Keeping away from strife defuses strife!
“Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3)
Love defuses strife!
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.” (Proverbs 10:12)
Patience defuses strife!
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.” (Proverbs 15:18)
Jesus pronounced in Mark 3:25, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” He takes from everyday life the truth he saw played out in some families–that a divided home cannot stand.
Jesus used this metaphor of a house divided to counter His enemies who claimed He was of the devil as He cast out demons. However Jesus finds that criticism to be absurd, since why would Satan cast out Satan?
Such a divided house cannot stand.
Though the meaning of Jesus’ words counters His accusers, we as parents need to take his comments at face-value and see the absurdity of splitting up our own homes.
Why would we not guard against those foolish behaviors leading to disunity when we know from common sense these family crazy cycles can drive a permanent wedge between us?
For instance, when conflict escalates out of control, but everyone in the family knows it could be defused, why not defuse it?
This makes no sense, especially when the Bible says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18).
If we can make peace in the family, and most often we can when we work at it, why would we allow hostilities?
Why would we not cool the boiling emotions?
Why not “abandon the quarrel before it breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14)?
Instead announce, “Time out! Everybody to their rooms to cool down. Now!”
What we want to defuse is the Family Crazy Cycle: Without love a child reacts without respect, and without respect a parent reacts without love. It gets crazy!
Please consider reading chapter 3 in Love & Respect in the Family, which addresses the following five ways to defuse this craziness:
– Call a time-out.
– Do not automatically assume disrespect.
– Teach Family Crazy Cycle 101.
– Reassure your child of your love.
– Allow for imperfection.