This scene is probably familiar to most people. Kid 1 comes to you complaining about what kid 2 did. Kid 2 rushes to his own defense. Some how God wanted to make sure my kids amp went past 11 straight to eardrum splitting. The debate is on (usually about legos). “He took my . . .!” “Well you never give me . . .!” “Me!” “No me!” “No me, ME, me!!!” “Me Monster!!!!!!!!” Global enterprises, walking on the moon, and impacted 14 wisdom teeth story tellers (If that last sentence doesn’t make sense, you need to watch more Brian Regan).  My kids are, by nature, the “Me monster” . . . wait, what am I talking about, we’re all the “Me Monster!”
So, as my boys stand and yell, enter me, the ‘godly’ parent. “Boys, boys, BOYS! Listen, Jesus says love one another. Are you loving him? Are you loving him? Is your love for him the same way Jesus loves us?”
DAD OF THE DAY!!!! GAME OVER!!! THAT’S BIBLICAL PARENTING!!! TOUCHDOWN DANCE!
fail, FAIL, FAIL!
Oh sure, on the outside I’m saying exactly what Jesus says. But is this really biblical parenting? Am I really teaching them anything? A few days ago a few observations, which had previously been running around in my head going different directions, decided to work and move together crossing paths in my head bringing an “Ah-ha!” moment.
- The world doesn’t know what love is. Love to the world is sex. Uh, no. (Even today, as I write, some desire to see Bucky and Captain America’s brotherly love turned sexual)
- A lot of people, believer or unbeliever, think love is a feeling. Kind of . . .
- Love is an action.
- Love is defined and exemplified by the Triune God.
Four random thoughts and convictions came together to work. THANK YOU LORD!
Rather than saying, “Son, love your brother;” I decided to change directions.
“Son, are considering what’s best for your brother? Are you giving to your brother? Are you thinking about your brother first and how to serve him? Love doesn’t think about itself, it thinks about what can serve him because we want to honor Christ. Would your brother learn how Christ gives and loves by your interaction?”
Where do we find this? “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “Love” and “gave” go together here. They are two different words creating a fuller, more complete image of true love. Now, I know this is Christ’s love that husbands are to show their wives. But honestly, isn’t this love? Would we be okay telling a wife, “don’t love this way?” If my boys are going to marry a godly woman someday, don’t they need to know how to love like Jesus before they marry? Yes, yes, and yes.
The reality is I’m saying the same thing to them I said before, but now using more concrete language with creating pictures of what love should look like. I want to cut through the confusion. I don’t want my boys to leave from under our care confused about what biblical love looks like. I don’t want to do that to their wives.
I pray my boys see this love, learn it, and their future wives benefit from it. In fact, I pray they excel beyond me in love and devotion, learning from my mistakes. What a privilege it would be to see them mature, loving others, and learning by their example too!
In order to do this, we must grow in our love knowledge and actions. I have a few practices I’ve incorporated. First, I read 1 Corinthians 13 habitually. Second, I try to read one or two books a year about love. Last year I read Alexander Strauch’s book, Leading with Love. This year I’m reading Jonathan Edward’s book on Charity and its Fruits. Third, we have to wake up and intentionally put on love. Paul commands us, make it a habit to put on these actions. Be intentional about it! He says,
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Col 3:12-14)