Creating peace in the midst of family chaos is a challenge. In every family, there seems to be a personality too big to fit through the front door and who mixes with others about as well as oil and water. All of these differences seem to come out when everyone is coming from out of town and staying in an Airbnb because no one wants to host Thanksgiving.
That’s what happened in my family last Thanksgiving.
I must have put the spoons where the forks needed to be or forgotten about the knives altogether. Soon we had a huge family-sized blowup on our hands. This was the kind of fight where everyone is debating whether or not to pack their bags and leave.
I’ll be honest. For years I have come home from college or my own studio apartment to visit. Instead of enjoying the company of my family, I set out to fix them. I have such an awesome family. Like every family, we have our issues. You too can probably picture the problems of each of your family member. What’s harder is knowing when to fix and when to create peace.
Me trying to “fix” my family was actually the cause of many disagreements, and I wasn’t helping anything. Instead, I was causing a war.
Proverbs warns us against creating conflict. Proverbs 12:20 says, “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.” And Proverbs 6:16-19 lists things that God hates. The very last item on this list is “a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Proverbs 13:10 is my personal favorite: “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
A loving co-worker once gave me some advice. He paused and said, “Hannah, create peace, not war.” I will never forget that statement.
You may be asking, “How do I create peace in a family that seems to live on the battlefield?” The biblical author, James, gives some instructions on how to create peace. If you read James 1:19-20, you will find three characteristics that will help with conflict, anger, and squabbles. "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
Fast forward to James 4:1-7 where James asks a good question: “What causes fighting among you?” He answers the question himself. “Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”
Many times, our fights with friends, people we go to church with and yes, family, come from our own desires. This may look like wanting things done our way. When this happens we don’t listen. We have higher expectations of how things should be done, and we become angry all too quickly once those expectations are not met. Verse 7 in James chapter 4, says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God...”
Submit your desires, your plans, your expectations, and your anger to God. Draw near to Him. He is the only One who can help you fight against your urge to fix others and create some peace in your family.
This was your reminder: Be the force that creates peace in your family, not war.
Hannah Lynn hosts Moody Radio’s That’s Real and is an engineer for Karl and Crew mornings. She grew up as a homeschooler on a tree farm, plays the harp (ask her about harp camp), drives a Prius (don’t judge), and started a fashion blog while a student at Moody Bible Institute (yes, that’s possible). Hannah loves to tell people about Jesus—as a seven-year-old she witnessed to her ballet teacher, then she started a Young Life club while in high school. Now she mentors teens with her husband, John, who serves as a youth pastor.
That’s Real with Hannah Lynn gives a one-minute dose of encouragement and advice to young adults who want to love and live God’s Word. Her fast-paced mix of storytelling and Bible truth helps create understanding between young believers and anyone who wants to follow Jesus one day at a time.