Harmony at Home

How do we establish and maintain harmony in our home?

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Family, Love, Sermon on the Mount

How do we maintain harmony in our home—with our family, our children? The Sermon on the Mount provides useful insights. Jesus says, “Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter” the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 7:21 NLT). How does this apply? Well, Heaven is harmony. So to live in harmony, we do God’s will; we don’t just talk about it. Then we experience heaven on earth: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10 KJV).

As parents, we have the privilege of establishing a harmonious atmosphere in our home. We do this by being good examples for our children, who copy what we do (no matter how much we’d like them to do what we say). So, what are they seeing and hearing that they will copy?

  • We can talk all about being kind and loving to their siblings, but if we turn around and argue with our spouse or put down our own parents, what are we really teaching?
  • What message are we sending if we correct our children about their table manners while talking with our mouths full?
  • Or what if we’d like them to do things when we ask but then we get frustrated when our spouse interrupts us, asking us to do something?
  • Or what if we tell them not to call people names and then we yell at someone in a car or call political figures lots of names?

If we yearn to experience harmony in our home, we have to see (look for, be aware of) harmony, speak harmoniously, act harmoniously.

Let’s think about music for a moment. If harmony is the goal, the masterful composer uses individual notes in such a way that they blend and work together to create one piece of transcendently beautiful, harmonious music. God, as the composer has magnificently gathered individuals together into families so that they can “work together for good,” for the glory of God (Rom 8:28 KJV). Each member is equally unique and vital in creating the harmonious family composition. And the family is (or should be) a safe place to work out the discordant mistakes that arise.

And as musicians, we focus on playing the right notes. We don’t spend a lot of time practicing the wrong notes. If we do play the wrong notes or play them out of rhythm, there is discord. But we don’t get mad at the notes and yell at them. We don’t get upset with the composer for using those specific notes. We simply study the composition to figure out what we need to play and how. The more complicated the piece, the more work is required to play the piece technically right. But there’s more than just technique; there is the feeling, dynamics, meaning—the essence of the piece that goes far beyond just playing the right notes. That requires inspiration, a Soul-full sense.

So, we look to our master composer, God, to see what we need to play. We listen to God for inspiration. We trust God to fill our beings with grace, rhythm, harmony. The more difficult or discordant the situation, the more fully we turn to God for the Heavenly view of the situation.

What might try to interrupt the flow, the harmony of daily family living? Let’s take will-power. Sometimes we find ourselves in a battle of wills—we’re arguing with our child about screen time or use of the car; we’re arguing with our spouse about parenting styles or household responsibilities. And we may think we have to prove that our way is the right way. We may even fear that if the other doesn’t agree, something disastrous may happen. We may feel trapped in a cycle of disharmony.

How do we get out? We look at the composition. We ask the question, “What is God’s will in this moment?” It’s not about what I want my child or spouse to do, say, understand; it’s what God requires that matters, what notes God wants me to play. This takes us to an entirely different level. We rise above the strife and realize that there really is only one will—one will that matters, and that’s God’s will. When we look to God who is infinite Love, infinite harmony, then we will hear how to dissolve the battle of wills.

Maybe the need to be right, to validate our own worth, or to nurse our egos suddenly ceases. Maybe we find that right in the middle of the argument, when discord seems to be screaming most loudly, we stop. We take a breath to quiet all the negative, swirling emotions; we listen to God; we stop talking. We see that it’s more important to be loving, to be happy. We decide to be the peacemaker. What does my child, my spouse, my relative need in this situation? What note do I need to play to restore harmony, and how softly, gently do I need to play it?

Perhaps my child needs a hug because she’s feeling unloved or something unsettling happened with a friend or sibling. Perhaps my spouse needs reassurance because things are difficult at work or something happened with a child. Perhaps I need to forgive myself. Then, right in the middle of the discord, we find harmony.

We change our focus from what’s wrong to what’s right, from the negative to the positive, Godlike view. We look for what’s good in our children, spouse, ourselves, our situation, and we nurture that. We catch our children and family members doing good, and we rejoice. We express specific gratitude for all the little or big things that our family members say or do. And we do it in a big way. When we have a grateful heart, we have a heart full of harmony.

Gratitude is such a powerful harmonizing force. It neutralizes negative thoughts, makes it easier for us to let go of our own will, and enables us to practice doing God’s will. In this way, we experience harmony. And we feel the blessings of knowing just a little bit more about living in the Kingdom of Heaven.