Are you nicer to strangers than to the people who live in your own home? Counselor Miranda Dennis explains how to undo the damage you may be inflicting on those you love most.
Did you know that your family is the body of Christ? Unfortunately, it is easy to be like the world and excuse or justify ungodly attitudes and actions toward members of our own family. But let it not be said that the church is no different from the world in this regard.
Create a Culture of Kindness
Sometimes we forget to extend simple niceties to those who live in our home or to other close family members. However, if we want to build healthy family relationships, we must speak kind words to one another. We can’t use the excuse, “Oh, that’s just my family member” to justify treating one another as less important than a stranger or a visitor in our local church. How many of us would voluntarily stay in someone’s home if they ignored us or made rude remarks and comments to us or about us? You probably wouldn’t put up with that sort of treatment. Yet we sometimes treat family members that way!
The Bible shares keys to effective family communication and healthy interactions.
Proverbs 15:4 (NLT)
Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Proverbs 16:24 (KJV)
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
- Words impact not only your emotional well-being but also your physical and spiritual well-being.
- A single negative word can increase activity in the fear center of the brain. This releases dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters, which in turn interrupt brain function.
- Positive words also can change the brain by increasing cognitive reasoning and motivation, and preventing disease in the body.
Dale Carnegie says, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
Our Families Are the Body of Christ
With knowledge comes power, and with power comes responsibility. I challenge your family, as members of the body of Christ, to be careful how you treat one another. Don’t justify tearing down your family, either with your words or through your actions. It is biblical to be kind, and science confirms the positive impact of increasing love, positive speech, and affection toward one another.
Ask yourself, “Am I being a good Christian toward those who live in my home?” If not, it is time to make changes. You should start by asking the Lord to reveal how you can improve the way you treat your loved ones. Then ask your family, “What can I do to build a better relationship with you?” Don’t be afraid to ask for forgiveness for wrongs you have committed toward members of your family. Then change! As a result, your home will be blessed, peace will reside with you, and the favor of the Lord will rest on you and your family.
Miranda Dennis is a licensed clinical social worker, a certified dialectical behavior therapist, a certified clinical trauma professional, and the owner of Oasis Clinical Counseling Services, LLC. In addition, she is an author, inspirational speaker, and trainer with a vision to help individuals, groups, organizations, and communities progress toward their goals and fulfill their God-ordained purpose. She is a member of the Center for Apostolic Counseling.