with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another." Romans 12:10 (KJV)
Two year old Claire and five year old Noah have had their share of spats lately. I am amazed at how competitive they are, especially considering their age and gender differences. What starts as taunting can soon erupt into all-out war.
Their mom and dad have very specific consequences for unkind behavior:
Hitting or pushing = time out, facing the wall
Taking toys away = loss of the privilege of playing with that toy
Teasing or aggravating = separation from each other (-interesting that this works!)
Using unkind words = say something kind/loving
Saturday evening I helped with crafts at a family Valentine party held at our church. The children made valentines for a family member or friend, then enclosed a customized “coupon” as a gift. I explained all of this to Noah, who had just finished making a valentine for Mom and Dad. He then sat pondering what to write on his coupon. Finally, he wrote, “I will love Claire for…”
“Oh, that’s a good one, Noah. Are you going to love her for one whole week?”
“A year!” he exclaimed, but quickly changed his mind, “…or maybe a day.”
Along with the other adults in the craft room I tried to stifle my snickers.
In the end his coupon read, “I will love Claire for 1 day.”
I admire Noah’s childish honesty, knowing that even one day is no small commitment. Sure, a day doesn’t sound like much when compared to the week I suggested, or to Noah’s grand aspirations of a year, but I’m guessing that keeping that promise for an entire day will be mighty tough!
“Be kindly affectioned to one another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” This is no mushy Valentine sentiment, but a command concerning our brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, John 13:35 says that this is how others will know that we are Christians -by the love we show toward one another.
If I am honest I must admit, like Noah, that I struggle in this area. I am not always as patient or tenderhearted with my brothers and sisters in Christ as I should be. I sometimes insist on my own way, and I don’t always share. I can say hurtful things, sometimes in the form of gossip...and the list goes on.
I think I will borrow Noah’s idea and write my Father a Valentine coupon:
VALENTINE COUPONTo: My Father God
Redeemable For: loving my brothers and sisters for 1 day
Note #1: Coupon may be redeemed as often as needed
Note #2: I can't do this without your help!
Signed: Your child, Sharlyn
Yvonne is hosting Monday Manna today at My Back Door.