A House and A Home
The difference between a house and a home is monumental. A house is a structure where people and their possessions dwell. A home is an immaterial understanding, pervading attitude, and an altogether place of security and rest. A house is purchased with financial means. A home is established by work, forgiveness, kindness, love, and commitment. Seeing the difference between a house and a home is necessary for men, women, spouses, parents, and siblings.
A house is defined by square feet, number of bedrooms, types of decor, neighborhood location, among many other factors. A home isn’t defined by the same characteristics. In fact, if you try to make a home out of a house without the proper infrastructure you end up with a facade that may meet the codes necessary to be called a house, but quite frankly a home it is not.
A home is identified by the people that make it up. Further, it’s defined by the disposition of those people. I want to encourage you to think through what’s necessary to make a home. Certainly, the lists we come up with aren’t exhaustive, although they may be sufficient. I want to direct you to Ephesians 4:31-32. The Apostle Paul states,
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The instruction here is clear and I’m confident that the words demonstrate what will make a house into a home. Here is instruction to move some things out of your house in order for a home to flourish. Putting away bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, and malice will be hard work, but the presence of these in your house will ensure that you do not have a home.
Remember, I said that home is the intangible aspect of living together with family. So, when you possess the sins the Apostle shares, you are building a fortification against developing a home and an atmosphere of grace. In Paul’s words to the Colossian Christians he says to put sin to death. None of the sins in Ephesians 4:31 has a place in the life of a believer or in the home of a Christian family.
Paul is intentional about not just giving a list of things to not do, he is also proactive in instructing the reader in what they are to do. He encourages his audience to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, and forgiving. Essentially, these are the pillars of a home centered on grace.
Being kind to one another is critical. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t as intentional here as we could or should be. This is hard work. Being kind to your spouse and children doesn’t always come naturally. The difficulty of the task should not deter us from pursuing it. Additionally, being tender-hearted and forgiving are the bricks and mortar that will ensure that your home is established and filled with grace. The importance of forgiveness is demonstrated as verse 32 closes, “as God in Christ forgave you.” The constant awareness of the the Gospel and the forgiveness that we’ve received as a result of it, changes the dynamic of relationships.
Because of what Christ has done for us we really can respond in grace, forgiveness, and kindness. No, it’s not natural. Only God can do that in a person. What’s the linchpin to having a home brimming and overflowing with grace? It’s not so much what, but who. Jesus is the person that secures the foundation of the home. Sure you can purchase a house, but only Jesus can make a house into a home.
Jesus can and will transform a house of effort into a home of love and forgiveness...and that will ensure an atmosphere of grace.