Read Proverbs 17:1
1 Better a dry crust eaten in peace
than a house filled with feasting—and conflict. (NLT)
We never really know what goes on behind the front fences and front doors of family homes. We may visit a home and see that it is wonderfully decorated and neatly ordered. Numerous photos of smiling family members adorn the walls and cabinets. The latest technology is obvious in the living areas.
But all this can conceal a broken family. The house is not a true home. Sickness and sorrow, estrangement and bitterness can inhabit that house. So we need to be careful before jumping to envious conclusions about homes and families. Those we envy could be those we need to help.
Our proverb today wittily notes such a reality. We can have all the material advantages we like in a family but if there is ongoing, unresolved conflict, then those advantages are cancelled out. Having a well-paid job is no compensation for a dry marriage. Getting your children educated at the best schools is no guarantee against psychological illness and anxiety. A brand new kitchen won’t always result in friendly meal times.
We often hear of the need for family values, but any of us who know many families wonder what that might mean. Many families are wonderfully warm and embracing, able to resolve conflict as it occurs. Other families are battlegrounds of competing egos and unresolved disagreements. Often only God can pick the difference. Most of us can’t get beyond the closed front doors.