Home Words

What was your first word? What was the first word you said this morning? What was the last word you said? Who was it that heard what you said? Chances are pretty good that the answer to at least 1 of those three questions was a family member and for some of us it was all three. Most of us learn to speak and use words at home so how have home words shaped you? How have they molded you? How do the words heard at home continue to make you into the person you are?

In a world bombarding us with words, at a time of lightspeed communication and where the definition of “is”, is important. Words are all the more important. They are more than just information, they are a window to our soul. Jesus made this point when he said:

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (Luke 6:45 NASB)

Now when we consider that the use of words is modeled to us in our homes, we ought to pause and even for just a moment and consider our home words, both in the past and now in the present. Those home words like all words, Jesus said, come “from what fills our hearts.” And in his letter to the church in Colossae, and the church at Due West, Paul speaks about our homes, our deeds and our home words…
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
Colossians 3:16-21 NASB)

Paul began in chapter 3:1 to talk about what Jesus has done for us and is doing to make us new. Then in verse 5-9 he addresses one side of our history, the one before meeting Jesus. He talks about our actions and our words. Then, in verse 10, Paul turns to the present, where our actions are to be different and our words contain wisdom and gratitude.

And at verse 15 Paul brings us to the key point: our hearts should be refereed by peace and set the whole tone of the church community. Love is the highest virtue and peace the standard of conduct. And where then does Paul point for this to be modeled? In our words and deeds starting in the home.

Paul’s outline for the homes of Christian families was a radical departure from the times. The influence of his words resonate to this day. Those husbands who would be tempted to use v. 18 to be a dictator are, in verse 19, reminded that LOVE is the great sacrifice (The parallel in Ephesians being: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her"
Ephesians 5:25 NASB) ).

For children who hear and experience the freedom found in Christ, or who read of Jesus’ staying in the temple for three days and causing Mary and Joseph to worry, Paul’s is a call to obedience just as Jesus left without complaint (see Luke 2:42-52). And parents (John Wesley said, “Mothers are included; but fathers are named, as being more apt to be stern and severe.”) are cautioned to not take “rod of discipline” in Proverbs 22:15 too far!

If we look at how Paul describes the change of our character, our home words should be ones very different than how we often communicate. If someone is in a conversation, at least one is talking and another is listening. Both are deeds which include words. One of my favorite comics, Family Circus points this out. Dolly looks up at her father, who is reading the newspaper, and says: "Daddy, you have to listen to me with your eyes as well as your ears.” Virtually every article on communication starts with listening. This was Dolly’s point to her dad.

If peace is the referee, listening serves as the time out. It means making and maintaining eye contact and listening with a closed mouth. Children will learn it from watching being lived out by moms and dads. In time they’ll model it back as they realize mom and dad will do the same with them. Only dads and moms need not nag and provoke but teach it to our children.

Early in our marriage, I realized trying to watch football games and listen to my wife, Heather, was just not possible. Oh, I heard her but truly listening? No. So I turned the game off. I’m learning today it applies to the computer and books as well, to my children as well as my wife.

Home words, when spoken after listening will reflect a heart of compassion, kindness and humility. Home words should communicate love and peace and thankfulness. Children, this applies to you. Moms and Dads, husbands and wives, this applies to you and me. Especially, because this is where our children are going to learn to communicate.

Practically speaking, home words, if they follow after the example of Jesus, “that we should do unto others as we want them to do unto us,” then it starts with listening to the words of those in our home, FIRST.

Paul opens this chapter, opens the whole letter with this idea, “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above…(Col. 3:1)” For when we take Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives, we are given power to change, to become more and more like Jesus. And it is at home, in our relationships where this becomes most evident. The peace rules our hearts and our heart brings forth what is good…

May I Ask: How much time do you spend using words? What about listening to other's words?

May I Suggest: Take 24 hours and try to listen before you speak. Do others respond better to your thoughts and ideas? Does it seem other people hear you when you speak?


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