There are days when I look at my wife and say “isn’t this fun?” That sarcastic remark generally comes in the context of our children fighting with each other. My children, like all children I have ever met, have this intense desire to irritate their siblings. It is something that we do not have to teach to our children. When I was a kid I fought with my siblings as well and drove my parents crazy too! The good news it that summer is winding down, and I guess that is also the bad news as well.
We all learn how to have many different types of relationships. We have work relationships, family relationships, casual relationship, and formal relationship. Sometimes people irritate us and sometimes they don’t. There are even times when we irritate other people. (I know, shocking) The difference is that as adults we should be able to work things through with people in a way that honors God. This is in contrast to the complaining or screaming that kids might do. The key to this has little to nothing to do with our own skills; it has everything to do with the work of God in us. Let me highlight three examples of this as an encouragement to all of us who want to live as Christ calls us to live.
Sing Praise to God With Each Other
As churches we do this every Sunday because it lifts up the name of Jesus Christ and encourages each other to do the same. When we worship together our focus is placed solely on the Lord and away from our own potential issues.
This works in my home when the kids want to start fighting about something. We often turn on a song that they can sing along with. Singing to God diffuses those areas of conflict. Try it!
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,” – Ephesians 5:19
Be Thankful — Say Thank You
Being thankful is not an add-on to the Christian life; it is a core piece of a Christian’s life. Why? Because we realize how much we have been given in Jesus Christ compared to what we deserve. God is so good to us!
Try thanking someone for something they did and watch how it changes the relationship. There is something amazing and affirming about genuinely thanking someone. If there is someone you are having a difficult time with, it might be time for you to not only show them kindness, but also to thank God for them. It will change your heart.
“always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:20
The most compelling reason we need to really watch how we relate to each other is because it honors Jesus Christ when we love one another. We need to remain connected to Him in order to accomplish anything.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of this in our homes and churches. Jesus Christ deserves all our praise. He is exalted as we are united in Him. It could be time to set petty disagreements aside in favor of His glory.
“Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. ” – Ephesians 5:21
Relationships are not always easy, but we are called to serve God in the context of relationships. When we keep the focus on God and how He directs us through His Word we find a unity that brings honor to His name. As I tell my boys all the time, maybe it is time to calm down and share your Legos. At the very least it is time to stop and praise God with each other. He will work in our hearts when we do.