"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." 1 John 3:14
I read this in my devotion today and it convicted me. Because the other day I was so stressed out, my 3 boys had fought ALL day long it seemed and I was getting nothing done. We were unkind to one another (on the way to VBS of course) and I had the thought, "I just don't like anyone right now." I just wanted to be all by myself and have a pity party. So, that's not really "loving my brother".
What does it mean to love your brother? The Bible defines love as: suffering long, kind, not envious, not puffed up, not behaving unseemly (does that mean yelling in the car and pointing my finger crazily at my 3 year old?), is not easily provoked (ouch), is not self seeking (another ouch), rejoices in truth, bears all things...and the list goes on in 1 Corinthians 13.
I was so convicted during this devotion, I mean it was as if God watched everything I did yesterday! Ha!
I told my kids that I loved them several times yesterday. I even hugged them several times. But "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth". 1 John 3:18
When I was a kid I memorized that exact verse as a song and I can still hear the song in my head even now. I do love my kids and I do cook for them and clean for them and wash their clothes and home school them.
But am I KIND to them? Do they easily provoke me? Am I patient with them? Do I behave in such a way in front of them that it is showing them the love of God?
This is hard stuff. Parenting is hard and it is ever changing with different seasons of life, different ages and different personalities developing. But God's Word NEVER changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I am so thankful for God's forgiveness when I mess up and fall short. I am thankful for God's grace that will fill in the gaps!
I'm not telling you anything new, "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." 1 John 3:11