“Every time I come here you guys always fight. I think I’ll just go back home.”
The ten-year-old words pierce my heart still. The raw, honest words our neighborhood buddy spoke to my two older boys.
And leave he did. He walked right back home and went inside. Ethan then came in crying to me, saying that Bryce had gone home.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because he says we always fight. I guess he’s tired of listening to it.”
Well, that makes two of us, Bryce.
And what is even more frustrating? Just earlier that day the boys and I had read, reflected and discussed Jesus’ words to his disciples. We ate bacon and prayed and highlighted and journaled and had a good-hearted discussion on love.
Just. That. Morning.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:34-35
We are called to love… not out of obligation or duty. But we are to love because we are loved. And as we are loved.
Love is a call to unity.
And mom if you are reading and there are siblings in your home, then I am betting you see a need for some love and unity.
Christ’s new commandment here presses us beyond our natural human inclinations to the need for Christ’s inspiration. Christ’s love for us is not dependent on qualities that makes us lovable. He loves because He is love regardless of our strengths or weaknesses. That thought may be humbling to some who want to be chosen, called and cherished because of their human credentials of talent, personality or achievement. But Christ’s love is not motivated by any of these human qualities. His love is grace-motivated.
And this kind of love is a work of the Holy Spirit within us. It is a love we must ask for as Jesus says in John 14:14, “Ask anything in my name and I will do it.” And then we learn that the Holy Spirit must give us the power.
The Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. He is the Holy Spirit. John 14:16
“Go get Bryce.” I said. “Go knock on his door and ask him to come back. We need to apologize for not loving well. And I want you all to share what we’ve learned in our Quiet Time. Just this morning.”
My boys didn’t want to do this, FYI. But they did. Ethan ran three doors down and asked Bryce to come back. “My mom wants to talk to you.”
So there we stood, all of us, the summer sun setting on our backs.
“Bryce, I want you to know that we are so thankful for your friendship and so glad you are our neighbor. And the boys have something they want to say to you about how they have treated each other tonight.”
I looked to Grant. He looked back at me. His face glaring with the “We do?” look.
“Grant, share a little of what we discussed this morning. Out of John 13.”
Shuffling his feet a little, he remembered.
“Sorry Bryce. Ethan and I shouldn’t fight like that. Jesus says we should love each other.”
His simple words led us into a really sweet discussion on Jesus’ love and our love and how we want others to know Jesus because of our love. And when we fight and squabble, it doesn’t show love at all.
Lots of love love love.
And before I knew it we had all confessed (myself included) and giggles arose again. The Nerf War resumed. And all was back to little boy bliss.
My mommy-heart was humbled. So thankful the Lord had allowed such a quick crash course on our John 13 morning.
This is an Abundant Summer: Long days with brothers who fray our nerves, allowing opportunity to apply what we learn in our tidy morning quiet times. Long summer days create space for sin and squabble and forgiveness and all kinds of teachable, God-moments.
This Abundant Summer we learn to love beyond our human inclinations. To love beyond the feel-good love. The easy love. But to love the grace-motivated-Jesus-kind-of-love.
And by this love, the world will know Him.
This in an Abundant Summer.