Did you know that when a violin string is not tight enough, the music will be flat and dull? And if the string is too tight, the music will be shrill and high-pitched. But if it is tightened even more, that string can snap!
It's the same with tension in the home. Stress and strife raise tension in our homes. The string can get mighty tight, and sometimes, it can snap.
However, not all stress is bad. It takes a certain tension just to make the violin play at all. But I'm telling you that too much stress is dangerous to our happiness, our health, and our homes. I want to give you four instructions taken from this passage in Proverbs to help relieve stress in your home:
1. Learn to Laugh
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken" (Proverbs 15:13). When it says "the spirit is broken," that means the string has snapped. Have you ever noticed you don't have to teach children to laugh; you have to teach them when not to laugh? You see, laughter comes innately. And if you have the joy of the Lord in your heart, it's going to show on your face! In Luke 6:21, Jesus is looking at people who are down-trodden and sorrowful; and He says, "Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh." He tells us to laugh!
Oh, there's a time to weep, but you better put some laughter in your home — especially when times get tough. Laughter is God's way to break the tension when the string gets too tight.
2. Cultivate Contentment
"Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith" (Proverbs 15:16-17). Many of us are uptight because our value system is all wrong. We think if we have more, then these things will bring us happiness. But many times the striving for things is what brings tension into the home. First Timothy 6:6-8 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
That doesn't mean that you can't strive for more or that God doesn't want you to prosper. The Bible says God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servants (Psalm 35:27). But you must learn to be content with whatever you have and praise God. If you don't, before long, the string is going to snap. And that big house, or whatever you’ve been working for, won't mean anything to you, not a thing.
3. Alleviate Anger
"A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife" (Proverbs 15:18). This Scripture shows us that anger brings stress and strife. We need to be peacemakers in our homes. We also see in Proverbs 15:1 that "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." The way to control your anger is to control your words — your speech. Perhaps, you might say, "I just can't control it." Oh yes you can! You know, sometimes in a home the husband and wife are just snarling, fighting, snapping, down one another's throat, and their voices are full of hostility. Then, right in the middle, the phone rings. They go to the phone and say, "Hello," so sweet and nice. You can control it! And you'd better learn to because if you don't, you'll be out of control — and the string will snap.
4. Walk in Wisdom
"Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly. Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established" (Proverbs 15:21-22). Stress in the home is just simply a sign that you have forsaken the wisdom of God. God is not the author of confusion. He gives wisdom.
Now, in order for your family to have wisdom, I would suggest that you come together in a family counsel. Notice in verse twenty-two, "in the multitude of counsellors" this wisdom is established. You need, as a family, to come together. The reason there is strife is not because you have problems. Every family has problems. But you see, families that deal with problems the right way, learn to attack the problem and not one another. Now, that's wisdom!
When all else has failed, shouldn't we just read the instructions? God, through His Word, instructs us to laugh, to be content, and to be happy and wise. If we don't, the string is going to snap, and the music will be over.