Christlike Love

I was thinking about Christlike love this week. To me, Christlike love is loving everyone, but therein lies a problem. How can I teach my children to love everyone?

Even those who eat really smelly food on trains or those who have different political opinions to the ones you hold or those who make off colour jokes or those who purposely say things about you behind your back to others or even those who decide that although there are very clear signs the traffic is merging up ahead and everyone else is queuing nicely, still try to push right to the very front because they can't possibly sit in traffic for an extra two minutes.

I'm really working on loving those last ones and I'm an adult, I should have this mastered.

PippaD pretending she is a proper adult

When we first send our little precious ones out into the world, normally in a Playgroup or a School setting, we tend to worry about the friends they will make. Will they make friends? Will they take a shining to the one that always seems to eat the Glue Sticks? Will they be bullied? Will they be the bully? Will they have one friend or will they be that one child that is friends with all twenty-seven in their class?

We want them to have good friends. We want them to be a good example to those around them, we want them to love all their classmates, weird glue eating habits and all.

We don't want them to have bad friends. We don't want them to have a bad example set to them, we don't want them to hate or hurt (physically or verbally) or discourage each other.

I realised, the more I pondered, that there isn't actually an answer that is satisfactory. I can't have it both ways. I can't tell my children to love everyone as Christ would and have them not associate with them. They can't be a good example if they aren't seen by those around them and that does mean that sometimes they might be friends with people who as parents we'd rather they weren't.

Then I realised, of course, there is an answer it was just so simple that I overlooked it.

Your child can love everyone and you get to teach them how to do that, by teaching them how to love everyone like Christ does and by your own example.

I am a Child of God sampler

Dan Jon is the sort of child that everybody seems to get along with. He's naturally personable, he's funny, he's smart, he's friendly, he's caring and believe it or not he gets with the bullies and he gets on with the geeks and the gamers and the jocks and the shy ones and the popular ones. Everyone knows him because they know that he loves them for who they are and that mistakes are just wrong choices and don't define the person, if they learn from them.

Top Ender is a little different, we realise now her ASD colours the way she sees the world. She might not be making best friends with all the different groups of people, but it doesn't stop her loving them. It doesn't stop her wanting the best for them. It doesn't stop her from trying her best to be a good example.

And so as I kneel down to pray this evening, I'll say a word or two for those whom I don't want to love. Those who have hurt me or who those I love. Those who don't see things the way I do, or don't think the way I think. I'll forgive them for slights against me (real or imagined) and hope that they'll do the same.