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Deuteronomy Dads

A Peaceful Home - By Tom Bushnell - Fall 1996

We all desire a peaceful home, but how do we attain one? True peace is not merely an absence of conflict, but rather it is an inward quality to our lives. There are homes that no matter what external conflicts or activity may surround, peace still is present. There is a common thread in homes with harmony. Peace with God comes first.

The problem lies in the fact that "our iniquities have separated us from God; Our sins have hidden His face from us so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2) If we do not have peace with God then we must be still in our natural state, which is at war with God.

There is no way we can win in a fight against God. There is one way for us to have peace with Him... that is to choose to walk His way not ours. This means unconditional surrender of our will. We must come humbly to the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. There is no other way to have peace.

In order to have peaceful homes we must be peaceful men. We cannot conjure up a peaceful heart. It is a gift from God. One of the ways we know we are walking in the Lord's way is that peace, a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22) will be present in our lives.

A man once tried to order his home in a peaceful way, but failed to get to the heart of the matter. He made very clear rules for his household: "Don't handle this", "don't eat this food", "we would never do that!" What he learned is that "such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, are of no value against fleshly indulgence." (Colossians 2:23) Further, he learned that focusing on the negative in an external way was of no value. Only when he started emphasizing the positive by "seeking the things that are above" and setting his mind on them (Colossians 3: 1) did he really start to gain that personal peace he sought. We all must seek the things above and set our minds on them in order to train our children in the ways of peacefulness.

Wisdom and Peace

"The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James. 3:17-18) If we are wise we will not be merely hearers of the word but doers. (Mat. 7:21-27, James 1:22-25)

Doers of the Word

If we want a peaceful home we must first have God's wisdom. Lets be doers of the word, especially with our wives. How can we ever hope to have peace in our home without being at peace with the wife the Lord has blessed us with?

A friend recently told me "It is now 'fashionable' for men to talk about the faults of their wives to other men." This is "bad-mouthing". It is not wise nor does it lead to peace.

Another "doer of the word" practice, in order to have a calm atmosphere in our home, is to have peace with our children. Just as we learn to subject our will unto our Heavenly Father, our children should learn to subject their will to their earthly fathers. If we see willful selfishness in our children and do nothing about it, we are then being like the man who built his house on the sand "The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:27)

Truly peaceful homes will only come about through: fathers yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit; being men with peaceful hearts; being pure, peaceable and gentle with our wives; being examples to our children of God's love and justice.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7-9)

How to be Doers of the Word

Here are some things we as a family actively pursue in order to have a peaceful home:

  • Not allowing fighting or quarreling between each other as husband and wife. Are politeness, congeniality, patience, a kind smile and forgiveness merely used with the outside world and not required when we when we are alone with those whom we love the most? There is no place more important in the whole world where sweet courtesy should be carefully maintained than in the home. There should be no hearts hungering for affection. There is no love that needs to be fed as much as the love that is strongest and holiest. There truly is no place where unkind words, rudeness, gossip, or aloofness is as unpardonable as inside our own home toward our beloved wife.

  • Teaching our children to "love and encourage each other to good works" and to "not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs."

  • Parents should take control of the schedule or calendar and not allow their children to push their own agendas. This means doing things as a family instead of fragmenting into society. In our home this includes parents as well as children. Why should our children make home a priority if we, as fathers and mothers, do not, choosing instead to spend our evenings away from home at "important" meetings week after week?

  • If the father is an emotional wreck, so go the children. When the father (most importantly) and mother react in a God honoring way to stress, financial or personal, the home in the midst of hardship can still be a peaceful place, worshipful and relaxing.

  • Children need to know what to expect during the day. Having a clear schedule puts order into their lives.

  • We routinely eliminate stress producers in our home. These are things that draw our hearts or our children's hearts away from the Lord. This could be books, music, magazines, friends, social events, anything that becomes more important than God and the family he has put us into to love and work with.

  • Family worship has been such a blessing to us. It gives our family a time to stop and communicate about how we are doing at being peaceful and what we need to do to improve. The fatherís role, as spiritual head of the home, is especially important in family worship.

REMEMBER: Peace in the home is not a set of prescribed duties, purging or works. True peace comes with having our hearts right with God. We cannot conjure up peace with God. It is His gift to us when we follow Him.