For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
If I get this, all else falls into place.
Love fulfills the law.
God loves me.
I am to love others.
God does not tell us to “feel” love” or “do” love, or even “act lovingly;” He commands us to “have” love. When I comprehend God’s love in my own heart, it leads to loving actions. I cannot will myself to love more or somehow muster up God’s standard for love on my own. I simply need to acknowledge my need of Him and surrender to the incomprehensive fact that the God of the universe has chosen to love me despite my failing and despite my weaknesses.
We are His creation and He loves us! This is the mystery of the hope within us that the world desperately needs to see – the visible evidence of the power and grace of God in our lives. As parents, you are uniquely wired to be a vessel through which God’s love flows into your homes. In fact, you hold not only the power but also the privilege and responsibility to uphold His loving image to your children.
The first two elements of love according to I Corinthians 13 are patience and kindness. How are you doing?
- Do you acknowledge His kindness and patience towards you?
- Do you reflect His patience and kindness in return to those in your home and with others?
- Do you expect kindness from your children toward family members and toward others?
The Greek word for “patience” is makrothumeo, which conveys the idea of: “injury without paying back.” It refers to relationships and not circumstances; it’s developing a long fuse. A patient person can be inconvenienced or taken advantage of without getting upset or angry.
- Does your fuse shorten when others behave in ways that irritate or disappoint you?
- How do you respond when you are mistreated by your spouse?
- Or when you are made fun of or misrepresented or gossiped about?
- When you are running late and your kids inconvenience you?
- When you child gets a poor report from school?
We are not only called to be patient, but we are also to be kind. The Greek word for “kind” is chrestos, which means “to show oneself useful, to act benevolently.” It refers to being useful for somebody else’s good even if it involves sacrifice. Kindness is far more than a feeling: it is an active good will.
Have you ever noticed how much of Christ’s life was spent in merely doing kind things?
He spent a great proportion of His time simply being actively good to people- in making people happy. God has put in our power the ability to make those around us happy. We do this largely by being kind.
What keeps us from being kind?
We have occasion to be kind each time we are around others. It’s pretty easy to be kind when you think about it: a smile, an understanding word, an inclusive gesture. Kindness has an instantaneous effect yet its impact is endless. You will likely forget kind words you spoke today but their recipient may remember them forever. Regular kindness toward another can evaporate misunderstandings, anger and even bitterness. According to a Japanese proverb, “one kind word can warm three winter months.”
Modeling Patience and Kindness to Your Kids:
(Listen to what your kids say and do. Then consider who they learned it from. You will likely hear those phrases you speak with emphasis and you will see your own responses to situations. They watch you at all times.)
- Model kindness in how you communicate to your spouse.
- Put the needs and desires of your spouse ahead of your own.
- Resist the urge to speak unkindly about others.
- Share the good things in your life freely.
- Be genuinely interested in the welfare of others.
- Be gentle, positive, and uplifting in your speech.
- Be patient and wise in your response to their mistakes.
- Be polite and courteous to them.
- Listen patiently. Don’t interrupt them.
- Give your children time to figure things out for themselves. Let them fight it out for a few minutes during a disagreement: the strategies you’ve taught them often kick in when they realize what they are doing.
Remember that all things are difficult before they become easy.
Be patient, yet do not lower the standard you hold your kids to. God is patient and kind. Yet He is also just and His standards do not change. We are to be gentle yet firm; patience yet clear and consistent in what we expect. Patience replaces harshness while kindness replaces a mean spirit. Both extinguish anger which never produces righteousness. Love requires that we are patient and kind. Justice requires that we hold to a standard. Both describe God’s nature and operate in harmony.
Patiently expect patience and kindness to grow in your kids. Expect them to:
- Help out around the home with no thought of reward or return.
- Treat siblings with brotherly kindness and respect- which needs to be exhibited before friends are invited in.
- Take turns.
- Not interrupt adults to get what they want when they want it.
- Wait for those “must have” toys rather than seek instant gratification.
- To apologize and be held accountable for mean words and actions.
- Be kind even to kids who mistreat them; they may be the ones who need it the most.
- Be kind to even those they are not fond of.
- Keep their unkind words unsaid.
- Not retaliate or be concerned that their “tormentor” gets justice. (1 Peter 2:23)
Next week: Love does not envy or boast!
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4: 32
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, … 2 Timothy 2:24
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 1 Thessalonians 5: 14
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Luke 6:35
Colossians 3:12 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering;