If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sisteris really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? – 1 John 3:14-17 (NLT)
“Well, duh Jody!” If the idea is that God’s unending, all-encompassing love would solve most of our world’s problems, then – why aren’t we doing it? I think it’s because we haven’t done it in the first place so how can we do it in the world!?
Love – God’s love – given freely – in our homes. That is where we miss Jesus’ mandate to love our neighbor’s as ourselves, but He is sympathetic to our difficulties in pouring love, without prejudice or judgment on our family members. His own family rejected Him and thought to put Him away because He was considered crazy (John 7). What makes our familial relationships so much more difficult?
The past is really never the past. I remember looking at my oldest son and experiencing such confusion as he stood holding his newborn son in his hands. I remember how John fit into my two hands the first time I held him. I remember a few days later as I was changing him, looking down and seeing his eyes light up and the smile come as he recognized who I was. Oh wait! That 6’4” guy across the room holding his son is grown. I need to shift gears and allow the past to slide back where it belongs.
I can tell story after story about my children. Most of which would be about their lives before they moved out of the family home, got married and made decisions without any direct help from me! The stories would be predominately about how I helped them; how they needed me. My children, whether teen or adult, should receive respect and acknowledgment that they are adults and can makes their own decisions.
And then there is forgiving mistakes, poor choices, and many other incidences that are cataloged in my head. How often are they brought up as a “funny story” when the story may not be so funny! When I look at my children and grandchildren, do I see the people they are today or am I still holding up a mirror so we can look back over our shoulders and rehash past mistakes (growth) once again?
The closest target has the best chance of getting hit. How often do those I love feel the sting of my impatience, personal frustration and just bad humor? Do I manipulate my loved ones with passive-aggressive behavior instead of straightforward “this-is-what-I-need” communication?
Do I let me loved ones know daily and honestly how much I appreciate them? Are “Thank you” and “I love you” part of my sincere vocabularly to those closest to me? Do my daily actions support that appreciation and love?
Expectation is higher. I expect my loved ones to – love me! Too often I expect this love to not require replenishing. Relationships need nuturing. They need time and attention, no matter how long they have existed. Be careful! Many a family relationship is on life support!
The world needs love. Hatred, even disinterest, is too common and feeds the slow death of the human spirit. Under the easy excuse of “no time” we allow our family love to wither and weaken, most often from neglect. The world needs love that has been washed and strengthened in a nurturinng family. The world needs to be infected by those families and their love.
[Jesus said,]“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35 (NLT)