Summer has arrived. We go to baseball games, eat ice cream, stay up late watching movies, run through sprinklers in the backyard; a child’s dream come true! But with these joyful things come late nights and, long, hot days – followed by the sound of bickering children.
I used to pride myself on how rarely my kids fought. But now – at age 4 and 7 – we are entering a new phase of arguing. The younger sister can hone in on exactly what will make her older brother mad. My son just can’t seem to figure out when his little sister is not in the mood for playful taunts.
I feel I must say that they are usually very, very sweet to each other! Both exhibit innate compassion, and I know they sincerely enjoy being together – most of the time. Sometimes my husband and I will stop and watch their play – lurking nearby to not disturb their interaction. Unfortunately, these sweet moments are often dwarfed by the fights!
After a long Saturday morning of listening to their fighting, we knew we were overdue for some God talk. So at lunch, we asked – Where have you seen God’s love? The question led to great conversation around our kitchen table about how we see God working through other people and how we must show love to one another.
It was SO good! I thought the rest of our Saturday would be better – all smiles!
Far from it. More bickering, more tears! So we repeated the conversation at dinner. Recognize God’s presence in the world around, show love to one another all the time. Most importantly, BE God’s love in the world! The bickering won’t stop, I know. But we must continue the conversation. Declare we are loved, and then decide how we will respond!
The hot, humid weather continued through today – as did the nit-picky fighting between my kids. As the day came to an end, my 4-year-old was ready for quiet, cool and sleep! She played peacefully by herself in the tub, and I sat nearby reading on my phone. The troubling news of the murders at an Orlando night club continues to unfold, and we read and hear about the terror and pain as innocent lives were taken by the hands of a person filled with hate.
My 4-year-old, splashing away, looks up at me and asks, “Mommy – why does your face look so sad?” I look into her bright, innocent eyes and choose the words to say. How do I explain such hate in the world after I’ve spent the entire weekend describing to her how we must love others?!
I set the phone down, lean down close to her, and tell her that I was reading something very sad about people that were killed. That statement was met with many questions – a sign that my sweet, young daughter is growing up and perhaps not as blindly innocent to this painful world as I might imagine. “Why? Who hurt the people? Will they hurt you or me?”
I respond simply. I conclude that no, they won’t hurt you or me. But deep inside I know this is a lie. There is hatred and evil in the world and we cannot predict or control where we might encounter it. Unfortunately, it seems that too often the hate of the world speaks much louder than the love. When tragic events occur, a unified voice of love speaks out among the chaos. But as days pass by, that voice is yet again drowned out.
I believe love can conquer hate if we speak loudly and strong enough. Be resilient in this message; foster a culture of change around you; respond and react to all circumstances with love. Easier said than done, I know. Be vigilant in prayer, allow the peace of God to fill and feed. Love ALL as God first loved us!
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:3