"You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each deeply with all your heart." 1 Peter 1:22 (NLT)
6:15 a.m.: I was abruptly awoken by the phone ringing, providing an automated message that school had been cancelled due to inclement weather. I breathed a sigh of happiness. I could sleep in and the kids and I would enjoy a peaceful day at home, sipping hot chocolate and snuggling by the warm, crackling fireplace.
8:15 a.m.: My son and daughter both come downstairs and crawl in bed with me.
8:20 a.m.: My son and daughter begin quarrelling over who gets to hug me the most and squirming around to see who could get their arms around me first. For fear of injury, I had to end that quarrel rather quickly. We then get out of the bed and scurry to the kitchen to make pancakes and bacon. As my daughter pulls the griddle from the cabinet, the coffee pot tumbles out as well, shattering into a hundred pieces all over the kitchen floor.
After getting that cleaned up and telling the kids to put their slippers on so they don’t step on any glass, I ask my son to get the eggs out of the refrigerator. Excited to be helping, he rushes to retrieve them, and accidentally drops the eggs out of the carton all over the floor. As I quietly cleaned up this slimy mess, I hear spoons going wild, as another quarrel begins over who gets to stir the pancake mix.
9:00 a.m.: I am seriously contemplating renting a bulldozer to scrape the ice off the roads so school could reopen, but instead I just continued cooking breakfast, without enjoying my morning coffee I might add. I found myself asking, what happened to the peaceful day I had dreamed about as I lay in my warm bed on this cold, icy morning?
Children are gifts from God and I know we are all thankful for them, but sometimes they can push us to the limits of our patience! There is nothing that breaks my heart more, than to deal with sibling rivalry. I would rather clean up ten milk spills (or broken eggs and coffee pots) than hear my children quarrelling with each other, and the black and white striped referee shirt that I seem to be forced to wear all the time is not a flattering fashion statement!
So what is a mom to do?! I want my household to be filled with peace and happiness, not constant fussing and doling out punishments. I yearn for my children to understand how important it is that they love each other and treat each other with kindness, consideration and love. Most importantly, I desire for my children to understand that being a faithful servant of Christ does not end when you accept Christ into your heart. Faith is an action, not a feeling. True devotion to Christ is showing our ability to put aside our own desires and frustrations, and respond to others in a loving way. Faith is loving your brothers and sisters!
I finally sat down with my children on this frustrating morning, and explained to them that by loving each other, they are also showing their love to God; and when they are mean to each other, that God feels that as well, because the Bible tells us that whatever we do to the least of these, we are also doing unto Him. As they learn to treat their brothers and sisters with love and respect, they will be equipping themselves to better love and respect all of their Christian brothers and sisters - those in the spiritual family of believers. Lastly, I helped them understand that when they treat each other lovingly they are treating Christ lovingly through their actions. Their faces beamed when they heard that they could make Jesus smile, just by being kind to one another. Even if I have to give them this speech daily for a month for the truths to sink into their hearts, it will be well worth the time and effort. We still have a long way to go in achieving perfect household harmony, but with God, all things are possible.
Dear Lord, we ask that you instill in our families the desire to love you and serve you. Help us, as parents, be loving examples for our children so that they can witness the traits of kindness, love, character, willingness to serve, and putting others needs before our own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Related Resources: Do you know Him?The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained
by Lysa TerKeurst The Mommy Manual
by Barbara CurtisApplication Steps:
Set aside a special time every day, maybe during breakfast, or at bedtime, to read a devotion or share God’s word with your children.
Pray with your children daily and share God’s truths about how important it is to love one another, and treat everyone as a beloved brother and sister.
When children quarrel, focus the discipline on requiring them to serve others, or help out around the house, instead of other forms of punishment. Or have them seek out a bible verse that teaches about loving others, and write the verse multiple times.Reflections:
Does my attitude reflect the character traits of Christ, and in turn be a good example for my children?
Do my children see me react patiently and lovingly when I am angry?
Should I devote more time to teaching my children to serve others, including the people who live in our own household?
2 Corinthians 11-13 And that's about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello. (The Message)
1 Peter 2:17 “Respect everyone; love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the King.” (New Living Translation)
1 John 4:21 And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters. (NLT)