I like to fancy myself as a fairly good “handyman” around the house. Being the oldest child meant that if something needed to be done, I was the one called on to get it done. If daddy was fixing something, I was there to hand him a screw driver and quickly learned the difference between a flat-head or Phillips head, learned the importance of pliers (especially the needle-nosed one that was used to pull all my baby teeth), and the difference between the wrenches, and I know that a pipe wrench is sturdier than a regular wrench. Are you impressed yet? Next thing you need if you are putting something together that you want to hold strong, are nuts, bolts, washers and whether you tap the screw in, etc. In my dad’s toolbox, which was kept immaculate, were always a few loose screws, and now you think I have one in my head, right?
I would like to think we could have “Peace on earth and good will toward men” in all of our families but it seems that will never be. Discord among brethren started with the very first brothers Cain and Able, their fight started because of jealousy and ended with murder. Go further in the scriptures and find Jacob and Esau, the twins whose fight started in the womb. Isaac and Ishmael are fighting to this day all you have to do is to watch the news of the Middle East for proof of that! What about Joseph and his brothers? They sold him into slavery and told their old dad that Dreamer Joe had been eaten by a wild animal and had a bloody coat to prove it. King Saul took David into the Palace to be treated like a son and quickly set about trying to kill him. Moving to the New Testament we find two very famous preachers of that day, Paul and Barnabas, chosen and separated for the ministry who traveled all over the “world” of that day teaching about Jesus. They brought along a new, young, preacher with them, John Mark, and when he got a little homesick and Paul wanted to send him home, they had such a sharp dispute over whether to send him, that Barnabas took John Mark and left Paul alone!
It feels like that the closer we get to a time when we all have to sit down and look at each other, eye to eye, like holidays or birthdays, the more tension builds and arguments arise. Today I have talked to a parent estranged from one of their children, hoping that the grandchildren will not be collateral damage of the “Family Feud”, others that know about arising problems in one of their siblings lives and knowing they aren’t aware, not knowing how to handle telling them, while other family members send cutting remarks back and forth across social network sites.
So what should our role be when we are trying to hold a family together? You have to be the screw, the kind with the threads that hold tight, and put yourself between the factions as a peacemaker. The washer, that adds protection and helps to hold more tightly, would be the Word of God that you arm yourself with in order to bring peace into your own heart, thereby, bringing peace to the ones you are dealing with. Matthew 5:9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
“I’d like to see the world for once all standing hand in hand. And hear them echo through the hills for peace throughout the land.”
To all my fellow nuts, bolts and washers, let us try by using prayer as spiritual duct tape, to hold our families together in peace!