“Love you!” “Love you, too!”
I hear these words almost every time my children phone me and we say goodbye. I also hear these words often at church as members say goodbye after meetings. It is common to hear these words in public places, as well. One might think there is a lot of love going around!
Perhaps many of the love messages we hear are sincere. That is such a good, wonderful, feeling to know that Christian brothers and sisters in the church family and children in the biological family truly know how to love one another.
During this time of year, we hear much about love. As Christians, we can know the true meaning of the word based on I Corinthians 13. We know that love is patient, kind, long-suffering, doesn’t have to have its own way, and is not puffed up. I must admit, however, that there are times when I can identify with the feelings that Jesus had as described in Matthew 9:36.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15 (NIV)
We read, “When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.” It is sad that so many are not finding love.
There are many people today who really do not know what love is because they have not experienced the love of Christ. Children are being raised in homes where love is defined as lust. Some children are being taught that unless something is fun, there is no love present. To many, love is synonymous with self pleasure.
Our children need to learn that love is something you do, not just something you feel. If a child truly loves his/her parents, that child will obey and show respect. If parents truly love their children, they will be patient and kind. Many parents repeatedly tell their children that they love them, yet they yell at them, are overly critical of them, and even try to avoid spending time with them. The parents often bury themselves in self-gratification activities to the neglect of their children. What kind of definition of the word “love” does this give to a child? On the one hand they are told that they are loved, yet the parents are not demonstrating the qualities of love given in the Bible.
We would do well to check ourselves as parents to see if our love is real or counterfeit. Our children learn by example. If we do not pattern the true meaning of love, how can our children learn the true definition of love? It is good to tell our children often that we love them, but let’s be sure that what we are telling them is true. Love doesn’t just happen. It is a choice. If this were not so, Jesus wouldn’t have commanded us to love. He doesn’t tell us to do something we can’t do.
As we teach our children to love, let us also teach them to share that love with others, as we do the same.