Charlie wasn’t listening. It happens more often when he doesn’t get a good nights sleep, and Monday night he didn’t get a good nights sleep. Tuesday night brought quite a bit of fussiness from him mixed with a lot of not listening. Bed time wasn’t going well. I wanted him to put on his pajamas, and he wanted to play with his trains. I finally got him to put on his pajamas and as I was helping him put on his shirt I calmly said to him “Charlie, what is going to help you listen better?” And he didn’t miss a beat when he said one word.“Jesus”.
Truth. I literally felt my heart melt, and change.
The bed time routine continued and we were about to go brush his teeth when he accidentally slammed his head into mine. Ouch. “Sorry mommy. Are you okay?” “Yes, bud.” “Let me kiss it, and make it better.” He leans over, and just as we do when he gets hurt, gives me a gentle kiss on the forehead. Again. Truth. Again, I felt my heart melt and change.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Perish. Sometimes I can feel like I am perishing in my frustration, my guilt, and all of my shortcomings. I was definitely feeling a bit like that when I asked Charlie what would help him listen better. He gave an answer to the question I should have been asking myself in that moment. How can I love my son in a way that encourages him to listen better? Charlie answered that question twice, but I will sum it up in one sentence. By loving like Jesus loved us, gently and kindly. I admit that I can sometimes pray so hard for someone to change, and completely forget that I have a spec the size of Texas in my own eye.
I will love you all the way to heaven.
I read the quote above recently, and although I am not sure where it originated, that is my desire. I want to love my children all the way to heaven. I want to love them, and others, in a way that leads them to know Jesus, so that they can have eternal life.These moments with Charlie reminded me that I need to approach His throne with child-like faith, and let the One who loved me first be my example on how to love.
After Jesus rose again from the grave, doubting Thomas said that he wouldn’t believe that Jesus was alive unless he sees the nail wounds in His hands, and puts his fingers in them, along with placing his hand into the wound on Jesus’ side. Days later, Jesus appears to the disciples, and says to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (John 20:27). Without it being recorded that Thomas ever had to touch His wounds, he has a change of heart. The spec was removed from his eye.
Like Thomas, sometimes I go through life with an unsettled, and unbelieving heart as if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. But even when I forget my place, He appears and says reach out, touch me, see that I am real, and believe. When I ask How can I love better?, I want my quick answer to be like Charlie’s. By sitting at the feet of the One who died and rose again from the dead.
Today is Good Friday. Today is the day that Jesus died on the cross. Today is a good day to lay all of our frustrations, guilt, sin, and shortcomings at the foot of the cross. Today is a good day to lay our pride, and selfish desires for others to change at the cross. Today is a good day to say:
God, forgive me for the times that I don’t love like you love. I need a heart change. Forgive me for the times that I desire others to change, before I am willing to pick up my own pride and lay it at the foot of the cross. I want to know what it means to love like you. I want my actions to be lead out of obedience to you, and I know that comes from listening to your word and looking to Jesus. So resurrect this heart. Help me to be loving out of the truth that You loved me first. Help me to be gentle, and help me to be kind. Help me to be more of a reflection of Your Son, Jesus.