by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse: 1 Peter 4:8,"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins." (NLT)
Bickering. And more bickering. Most of the time my three kiddos get along pretty well. They invent games together, ask for permission before entering each others’ bedrooms, and share their things. But lately—I don’t know if it’s winter and cabin fever, or what—the bickering has escalated.
And consequently, so has my temper a few times.
It drives me absolutely nuts to hear the smart-aleck jabs, one-upmanship comparisons, and outright put-downs. My children are supposed to love one another and live in harmony. Right?
Maybe I need to lay down some new rules.
During the latest bickering session when I was just about ready to start pulling out hair (I won't say whether it was mine or theirs!) I was made vividly aware of the fact that my Heavenly Father knew exactly how I felt!
It struck me that in the Old Testament--under the law--God's anger burned against Israel when they were unfaithful to Him. Consequently, under the new covenant, the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Also under the law, God was appalled at how his children were treating each other. But now, under grace, the second greatest commandment is to love others as ourselves.
Not necessarily "new" rules, as the original ten commandments still apply, but more of a shift in perspective. Instead of volumes of "do this; don't do that" we are now told to love above all else. Why?
Because love covers a multitude of sins.
I know my kids love each other deep down, but showing it at all times is a constant battle of the flesh. It is for most of us. But every little victorious showing of love covers a sin we might otherwise have committed.
That's why oftentimes when the kids have been ugly to each other, Shane and I will have them lock eyes, apologize, and hug. The actions of love--even if they don't feel it right away--will usually result in the feeling later. And oh yeah, lots of giggles.
As God's children, we have to stop the bickering, the one-upmanship comparisons, and the put-downs. By loving instead, we're covering a multitude of sins. Thank you, Jesus, for doing it first.
Lord, when we feel like complaining and arguing, when we want to take sides and tear others down, fill us with your love instead. Help us to show it and eventually feel it. Use it to cover sins, Jesus, in Your Name.
Develop a plan for the next time (and you know it's coming!) you're around or being pulled into an argument. How can you show love to diffuse sin?
Phillipians 3:15-16, "All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained."(NIV)
Phillipians 2:14-15, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe."(NIV)