I’ve snapped at my mom, I’ve been annoyed with my dad, I’ve argued with my sister, and, the story goes, I’ve scratched my brother. What we fought about, I don’t remember.

I do know that it’s so easy to allow our words and thoughts to flow freely. We call others names or rant at the unfairness of the situation. Our lack of self-control leads to the exchange of hurtful words. Familial love gets cast aside because we feel it’s easier to let the emotions rage than to control them.

And it is hard to control them, but with God’s guidance and enablement we can train ourselves to not transgress. Reading and meditating on his statutes gives us the tools we need to control the words of our mouth as well as our thoughts. In the list of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22–23, we see gentleness and self-control.

According to the Bible, the mouth can defile (Matthew 15:11), can demonstrate arrogance (1 Samuel 2:3), and can speak corrupting words (Ephesians 4:29). These characteristics as well other negative ones can harm a family, pitting one against another, causing arguments and strife. They open the door for the devil to reside with our families.

However, the door slams in the devil’s face when we speak wisdom (Psalm 49:3), utter words that produce good fruit (Proverbs 12:14), and guard our mouths (Proverbs 13:3). These characteristics as well other positive ones can help a family to grow closer in their relationships as family on earth and as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Familial relationships can thrive when we strive to please God, when we seek instruction from his mouth. Indeed, God’s Word teaches us to honor others above ourselves (Romans 12:10), to forgive one another (Colossians 3:13), and to build each other up (Ephesians 4:29). The Good Book instructs us in righteous living, a type of lifestyle that leads to Christ-centered families who meditate on God’s laws and practice them daily in their relationships.

Father in Heaven, your Word reigns as the ultimate source of guidance in the world. Before I speak, remind me to meditate on it and to seek my responses from you.

Throughout This Day: Whenever a negative thought about your family member crosses your mind, replace it with a positive one.

Tags: Psalm 19 Matthew 15 1 Samuel 2 Ephesians 4 Proverbs 12 Proverbs 13 Colossians 3 Psalm 49