The greatest is love

imageI’m going to try something here. Good thing I told you that.

Had I not voiced my intent to attempt, the forthcoming effort would have gone unnoticed.

Or not.

Who knows?

Must . . . move . . . forward . . .

The Bible app on my phone includes a daily verse. Every day, I make a yeoman’s attempt to give the verse a look. I also try to incorporate that verse into my approach for the remainder of the day.

I’ve found I’m most successful when I read the verse immediately before bed.

Today — and perhaps in the future — I’m going to look at the verse in correlation with the past 24 hours. Chances are I’ll throw stones, point out planks and cast judgment without self-reflection.

Yep, I’ve fallen short of who I need to be even before I’ve become who I was.

Today’s verse: Deuteronomy 6: 6,7

“Memorize his laws and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you’re at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning.”

Given the presence of God’s hand in every detail of the world, I shouldn’t claim any sort of irony in this verse. Then again, Ric Flair should never have called himself the Nature Boy.

But he did. So I will.

My son is a seventh-grader and is taking confirmation. At our church, parents attend confirmation class with their children.

It’s kind of a two-pronged approach — or at least that’s how I see it.

Attending confirmation with our kids gives us a firsthand look at the material they’re covering in class, which allows us to correlate the lessons they’ve learned with everyday life. It’s also a handy refresher for parents.

Call it confirmation for dummies.

Tonight’s topic was stewardship, which led to our responsibility as parents to lead our kids toward Jesus. Our responsibility to help them develop a relationship with Him, to grow in that relationship and to reflect the love of Christ through their actions.

Part of that stewardship is teaching our children God’s commandments. All ten of them.

Or, as the non-Christian world would argue, morality.

Because, let’s face it, that’s the heart of the commandments.

It doesn’t take a relationship with Christ to know the difference between right and wrong. And the choice to do right or wrong shouldn’t be based upon a selfish desire to claim an eternal spot in heaven.

Separating the two — right and wrong — gives a clear indication of why we should or shouldn’t choose something. And I certainly don’t know how much of a steward I’m being if I’m simply trying to tack on a few extra tally marks to the “Fulfilled Commandments list” that hangs on my fridge, hoping that I’ve done enough good to cancel out the bad.

Especially if my list is full of wins on Nos. 3, 6, 9 and 10 but void of any success on 1, 2, 4 or 8.

Fortunately for me, my list is empty. Every win I have is erased by 10 losses.

How is that fortunate?

Because I’ve fallen so far behind there’s no need to keep score. I’ll never do enough good to earn a spot in heaven.

I have to rely on my faith.

I have to do my best to reflect the love Jesus showed for me upon others. That’s all I can do.

Yeah, I fall short here too. But the greatness of a relationship with Christ is the understanding that my accomplishments and failures don’t define me.

The relationship does. He does.

And that’s what I want to teach my kids.

My wife and I have never emphasized that our children know the commandments word for word, in order, in multiple languages. Maybe we should.

But in teaching our kids the difference between right and wrong; and in teaching them the importance of loving and respecting others; teaching them the importance of accepting the ideas and beliefs of others without judgment; and teaching them how their actions impact others, they know them.

They hear them every day.

More importantly, though, they know the importance of kindness for the sake of kindness, empathy for the sake of empathy and goodness for the sake of goodness.

They know the importance of Christ’s life.

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