It wasn’t about Valentine’s Day approaching. It was more about the oncoming train wreck in our living room. For several weeks, I could see down the tunnel of our family’s future as the tiny glow from the locomotive of self-centeredness grew increasingly bright, heading right for us. We needed someone to jump onto the track that was leading to our demise and wave a big white flag to stop the conductor from crashing into us and scattering our home and all we hold dearly into the wind. We needed an intervention of the most basic yet extraordinary kind.
It started out with weeks of off and on sickness that led to fussing, whining, fatigue, and downcast hearts. And I’m not just talking about the kids. Our off balance schedules and weakened health created the perfect ambience for complaints. We were no-shows at church for 4 weeks in a row so that we wouldn’t contaminate other kids in Sunday school, and we felt the void. Big time. The joyful spirit that we usually cherish in our home was being eroded and if we didn’t do something quickly, it was only going to get much worse.
I suppose we could have reviewed all the amazing verses from the Bible that we had been learning this year through the AWANA program, or had some sit downs about the nature of sinfulness. We could have cranked up the discipline factor by tenfold or started withholding rewards. Perhaps, we could have allowed the feelings of guilt from letting our guards down in our parenting rob us of hope for change. But instead, we listened to the Holy Spirit whisper to our hearts and we orchestrated an all out, no holds barred campaign for that greatest of all attribute, LOVE.
It started with a heart to heart conversation between my husband and me. We needed to get back on the same page and be likeminded about how to help our family get our fruit back. The whole day could be sent telling our kids what not to do. But we knew in our hearts that we were better off showing them what to do. We decided to meditate on I Corinthians 13:3-8a. Part of the process for us, was to read it to one another and write it out by hand, on a daily basis. As husband and wife, we set out to rekindle in us what true love is:
3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, [a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails.
And wouldn’t you know it? It made a difference. It made a difference in us, and it made a difference in our observant children. Eventually, we took the time to talk to them about patience, kindness, and forgiveness. But they needed to see a mega-dose of it in action from us first. If your family is facing a health crisis, a financial mountain, a case of the dull-drums, or a pattern of a specific sin, you can never go wrong by taking the time to root this passage about Godly love in your hearts. It’s convicting and life-giving. Don’t we all need a bit more life in our family relationships? I would encourage you to take this love intervention on in your family too. Read what God says love is in the morning and in the evening. Write it out, and use different translations each time. But most importantly, ask God to give you a heart that pumps love through your veins that it may reach every nook and cranny of your body. Step off the tracks before the train implodes and model what it means to keep no record of wrongs. Before you know it, you’ll be trading that soot from the train wreck of self-focus for beauty. Reflect on the great love that God has for you in giving you his Son to die for your sins. Let the thought of that kind of sacrifice sink in for a moment. And then set aside all the excuses and falsehood of entitlement and get busy loving.
From The Message:
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
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