Many things we use need lubricating. Metal rubbing against metal causes friction. A little grease of oil relieves pressure. Without lubrication, the engines and wheels on our cars could not turn.
In the days before WD-40 became popular, 3-in-1 oil was the fix for everything from sewing machines to bicycles chains. But there is another kind of 3-in-1 oil we need that lubricates things much more important than chains and engines.
People rub each other the wrong way. Sometimes this friction is worse than at other times, but no two people, regardless of how much they love and like each other, are exempt from this friction. We feel this friction at work, at home, at school, and in the church. But the Bible teaches that there are three lubricants that will ease this tension. They need to be in every one of us.
God instills natural affection to lubricate the home. Family members get on each other’s nerves and try each other’s patience. Children bring great happiness to parents, but they also irritate them by their neglect and silliness, especially when Dad and Mom are tired. That same Dad and Mom get impatient fast when somebody else’s children are acting silly or showing out. But when their own children do the same things, they laugh. Why? They have the lubricating oil of natural affection toward their own flesh and blood. God put this special love in the home to relieve the pressures of living together in the same house.
Laughter is a wonderful lubricant. Solomon said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Prov. 17:22). A good sense of humor will ease the stress in your own life and it will take away a lot of friction in your relationships with other people. Sometimes when a discussion is at an impasse, a little humor helps. It may not solve the problem, but it will settle things down and give us more time to think sensibly. We can find humor if we look for it. The older we get and the more responsibilities we have, the harder and more often we must look for the humorous side of things. Abraham Lincoln said a man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be. Humor needs to become a good habit with us. We will live longer and have a more peaceful life if we will apply this lubricant to the friction of life.
Speaking a good word lubricates tense situations. Solomon said, “A soft answer turner away wrath” (Prov. 15:1). He also said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Prov. 25:11). When Jesus rebuked four of the five churches of Asia that need to repent, He first complimented them on their good points (Rev. 2-3). The only exception was the church at Laodicea. Timely words keep down friction. David and his men armed themselves to battle against Nabal, a wicked man who refused to acknowledge the favor that David and his men showed Nabal’s servants (I Sam 25). But Nabal’s wife Abigail, a woman of good understanding, used the oil of kind words to calm David’s anger. Kind words relieve friction between husbands and wives, between bosses and workers, and between neighbors. Just a little of this lubricant makes life smoother,
This 3-in-1 oil is not for every kind of friction. A can of 3-in-1 oil is not thick enough to use as axle grease. Natural affection, laughter, and kind words will not work in every situation, and it is not appropriate to expect them to do so. Sometimes a more stern approach must be taken. But in many situations, especially where little things cause a lot of friction, few drops of 3-in-1 oil will work wonders.