This chapter in Paul’s letter to the Romans is full of robust one liners about living the christian life as he saw it. They are all good, and his instructions are helpful especially in your home life, and with your family.
Personal relationships can be fraught with complicated feelings and confusing moments at times. Living in harmony with the people under your roof, be they children, siblings, parents, grandparents, or your pets for that matter, requires that we treat one another with sincere love, affection, and respect.
The attitude with which we approach the dailiness of the household chores and rhythm of everyone’s schedules is key to a happy home. It is immature human nature to try to get away with doing the least amount of work, or the least bit of chores, or to only clean up the mess you made, barely, but no more. But it is awesome, and Christlike, to approach things with an attitude of spacious generosity, one that reaches beyond itself and considers how to bless the other people in your house.
The idea of outdoing one another with honor, as our scripture says, is a healthy and mature way of approaching the other humans in your house. It is the best kind of competition, to see how helpful and honoring you can be to one another! How much can I possibly help this situation? How can I be a total blessing to my family? How can I participate in this family unit in ways that honor my household?
We all know the opposite of that which is to count the number of dishes washed, or to blame the forgetfulness to pick up clothes, or to shame someone’s apparent negligence. And we all know that none of that works! None of that produces lasting change, nor does it promote healthy interpersonal relationships or feelings of warmth or affection. And that’s the goal of all our close relationships! The goal is intimacy, kindness, and freedom to be seen for our good qualities.
How can you find ways to bless your family today and outdo them in honor and respect?
God, thank you for my household and my family. Thank you for the roof we have over our heads and for the blessing you have given us to live together and enjoy one another. Help me be a helper like you. Help me not to count failures, but to allow your Love to cover us all. Let forgiveness and peace flow in my house today. Let it be done, and let it be so. Amen.