By Joey and Carla Link
February 2, 2022
February is the month to celebrate love. What do you think of when you think of the word “love”? I (Carla) like to think it means someone thinking I am important and special no matter what.
Did you know that loving others is a command? That’s what the Bible says and it had a lot to say about love. “Command”, in the dictionary is an “authoritative voice”. That means someone in authority is telling us to do it, and in the case of the Bible that would be God. There is no higher authority or ever will be in our lives.
“A new command I give you that you love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Did you catch “you must love one another”? Loving others isn’t something we get to think about and do if we want to or are in the mood to or have the time to. It is something we must do.
Carla and I are coming up to our 44th wedding anniversary. You can’t be married that long without knowing you must love each other whether you feel like it or not. I don’t think married love is what Jesus is referring to. He is talking about loving people in general.
Where does that kind of love start? It starts at home. And it starts with parents showing their kids that married love takes priority in the family. A great thing we learned in the parenting class “Growing Kids God’s Way” is “couch time”. When Dad gets home from work, he and Mom sit on the couch for 10-15 minutes talking. The kids have to see or know you are having couch time, but can’t interrupt you. Showing priority is a form of love and kids need to know and see their parents making time for each other that they can’t take away from them. It gives kids a sense of security and stability. When our kids could tell things were tense between us, they would say, “You need to have couch time!”
What about kids? It is hard for a 3 year-old to understand why he must love his brother who just hit him. Loving people who are mean to you is hard, no matter the age. The Repentance, Forgiveness and Restoration process is a way of showing love. Please make sure your kids go through this with each other. It is the key to having a peaceful home. Teach your kids that when they grant forgiveness when it is asked of them, they don’t get to hold grudges or still be angry with that person.
A hard verse for any of us to follow is Matthew 5:44:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
In the moment a sibling becomes an “enemy”, teaching the sibling who was offended to love him/her is giving them the tools they need to love others. Your 10 year-old and teenager can love those who hurt them easier if they have been doing it all their lives.
Require your kids to show love whether they want to or not. While you certainly need to deal with your 3 year-old’s sibling who hit him, you also ask your 3 year old how he can show love to him in return. Age wasn’t a factor for us when dealing with unkindness in our home. We asked the unkind kid (or ourselves) to come up with one way they could show kindness or be nice to the person they were unkind to and then were given time to go and do it.
“Let all that you do be done in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:14