Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Love! Because He says so.

Lately, my son has been complaining about a boy in his class. According to my eight year old, the culprit is a bully, a big baby, and a big nuisance. When I listen to the scenarios that caused my son dismay, the kid does sound a little annoying, but is by no means a bully.
In the past, I have listened to what other mamas say to their kids who have conflicts, and I can recall two different camps on this:

1. Be polite and walk away. You don't have to be anyone's friend, and you don't have to like them. So do your best to ignore it.


2. Perhaps the kid is needing a friend? Perhaps you could be his friend? Maybe if you tried, he would soften.

I will confess, I have tried both of these approaches. To the first, my son replies, "But I tried! He won't leave me alone." And to the second, he says, "I hate him! I don't want to be his friend. He's my worse enemy!"

It was then that I cringed. It was then that I tried to stuff down the mama weakness of finding a way to appease him and make him happy at school, and instead, search my heart for words that would not only be a comfort, but wise.

And you know what? Wisdom and comfort don't always go hand in hand. To think I would want my kid to be comfortable and content by surrounding himself with only the kids he "likes", goes against the very wisdom that true Christianity teaches (and I say "true" because, unfortunately, the media displays a multitude of "Christians" who act out of hate and us a very bad, love-less name).

Above ALL ELSE, God calls us to LOVE. That. Is. It. To love Him, and to love others (Matt. 22:36-40). After all, love covers a multitude of sins (1Peter 4:8). Christ even went so far as to say, "love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44). And if you look at the historical context of the Bible, you will see that the enemies back then weren't just annoying kids on a school playground, but evil, sinful, men who would beat and laugh and scorn, and hang an innocent man to die on a cross. If Christ told the people of that day to love those kinds of enemies, then why would I let my fleshy mama nurturing kick in and get my kid off the hook for loving a hard-to-love kid at school? Just so he can be happy and have fun with the kids that matter to him?


In my Beth Moore study on the book of James, I am beginning to understand the seriousness of sin in the hearts of a believer. We can't mix the faith with the worldly view. We can't live according to the world--pushing our kids toward entitlement, popularity contests, and self-gratification--and call ourselves lovers of the Holy God of the Universe. How can we love in spirit and hate in flesh? It doesn't work that way. It goes against the very reason Christ came to die for us-- to establish a covenant not based on what we can do, but HOW WE LOVE.

It really is all about love, isn't it? We can get caught up in parenting, social networking, and politics and acquire a spirit of animosity, pride, and hatred, suppressing any likeness to that of Christ. 

It makes me shudder to think about all I've done to contribute to giving our Savior a bad reputation. One of exclusivity and conditions. Just like the first camp of mama advice above.

But, there is hope. And my faith bestows grace and mercy each and every day. I will be confident in my stance to my child, now. I will not only side with camp #2 above, but teach him that love is the only way, not ignoring and hating. I won't wonder if I am doing the right thing. Love really is the most important thing.

"And now these things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE." 1Corinthians 13:13.

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