Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
I want to start my series on What We Should Teach Our Children with what Jesus said is the greatest of the commandments ... Love... We are to love God, and we are to love others.
Love is not something that can be taught with words only. It must be taught by our actions and our reactions.
Our children must see us loving God... daily, not just on Sunday mornings. It is easy to sing praise to God and say that we love Him when everything is going great. Can we sing praise and love Him while in the midst of a storm?
Our Children must see their parents loving each other... all the time, even when we disagree. Are we affectionate to each other? Do we speak with respect to each other? Do we speak well of our spouse to others? Do we tell each other that we love them while in the presence of our children?
Our children must see us loving them ... again all the time, even when they make mistakes. Do we hug and kiss and cuddle our children? Do we tell them we love them? When we correct them, do we do it in a loving manner? Do we reassure them that there is nothing they can do that would cause us to stop loving them? Do we spend time with them, encouraging them, helping them, training them, having fun with them and yes, loving them?
They must see us loving others... even those who are unlovely. We all know people who can grate on our nerves... Do our kids see us loving these people? What about the snarky cashier at a drive through restaurant? or the person standing behind us in line at the grocery store? Of course, we are not going to say, "I love you" to these people. However, the way we react to these people either reflects the love of Christ... or it reflects the world. So, how do we react to these irritating people? Do our children see us reacting with love?
I know this post is full of questions. Questions that I can't answer for anyone but myself.... and yes, there are some areas in love I need to work on.
So here is the bottom line, if we want to raise our children to love others, we must demonstrate love to others. We must get away from self-seeking love, and offer self-sacrificing love.