Where are the Olives?
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”- Ephesians 4:26-27
A few years ago I faced a serious struggle with my sleeping patterns. Due to an unusually long bout with a sinus infection, I found it difficult to fall asleep and stay in that sweet snooze zone. It was during this season of long and lonely nights, that many remedies were recommended (friends advice and internet articles) on how to get the shut eye my body desperately needed. I heard everything from the common (counting sheep) to the practical (stay in a nightly routine and shut off media earlier) to the natural/organic (eating certain foods and using oils) to the essential (changing my pillow and/or mattress). After weeks of not getting enough sleep, I was open to all options and was constantly asking the Lord for an overcoming work to my obstacle. In that time, I was given a unique, peculiar, never heard of before remedy called a neti pot. This plastic tea pot looking instrument (that combines water and medicine) is used to help clear one’s sinus passages. Despite not knowing what a neti pot was before my battle, God used this as an essential and everyday instrument of breakthrough for both my sinus and sleep problems!
The idea of a unique, “outside of the box”, a never thought of before solution is quite fitting to this season for our church family as we move through our current series, FIXER-UPPER: “Bringing Spirit Health to your home!” This first teaching series of the year is all about building a solid foundation (on Christ) and making space for the Holy Spirit in our homes. What better place, than where we dwell and who we do life with, to receive God-inspired and Spirit anointed answers for whatever is missing a much-needed infusion of life, peace, and strength. God is wanting to encourage and ensure us that He indeed has an answer to the rising temperature of hostility in your home; the increasing number of unpaid bills; the unending bouts of illness; and the growing gap of isolation and non-communication between people living under the same roof.
One of the areas I believe the Lord is wanting to bring His remedy to your address is in the area of contention between family members. Whether it is a disagreement on a decision or a misunderstanding that leaves one’s feelings hurt, I don’t know of a home/family that hasn’t experienced at least some level of arguing and angst. When it comes to the issue of DIVISION and the need for God’s PEACE (like my own need for sleep), many proven remedies may be offered. There will be the common ones (stop to pray when in the middle of a heated discussion); there will be the practical ones (do not bring up a big issue after 8 pm); there will be the natural/organic ones (breathe and bite your tongue); and there will even be the essential remedies (read the Bible to start each day). But even as I was introduced the highly unique, yet valuable neti pot, I want to suggest a new remedy to combat the combating happening in your home.
There is a crucial moment that can change the course of almost any conversation and conflict. And it is not just found in the common preventive measures we should take (in terms of thinking before you speak or waiting before you act). Of course, this is a wise, powerful, and godly course as described in James 1:19-20, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” There is also a redemptive remedy that can take effect even after the fallout from a fight with a loved one. I am convinced that God can use our “screw-ups” just as much as He can our successes. One of the most beautiful and impactful things we can do is to take ownership for our words and actions, by expressing heartfelt remorse, asking for forgiveness, and taking the first step towards reconciliation. What would happen in our marriages, in our relationship with our children if we were just as quick to confess our errors as we are to explode in anger? Saying “I’m sorry” can stop the snowball of strife and the avalanche of attack, before greater destruction is done. To confess our sins, to seek peace with the person we have hurt, and to repent (change course) from our ways, can establish a God order, a healing power, and a Spirit center in our homes. In II Corinthians 7:10 the Apostle Paul speaks of the amazing results of the repentance remedy, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to life and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
My guess is that each of our homes is in the same desperate need of peace/rest that my body was when I was lacking sleep. May it be that as you build your heart and home on His Word, that He continually shows you better remedies that will answer all your needs completely and wonderfully!