The number of lessons I want to teach my children is innumerable. Because we’re all learners. Regardless of how old we might be or how many life experiences we’ve collected along the way, there is always more knowledge to gain and ways that we could grow.
Over the next few days I want to spend some time on lessons for my girls about relationships. We all have them. In fact, from the very beginning of Creation relationships were essential to the order of the Universe.
God made man in His image — the first God to human relationship.
God created woman for man — the first human to human relationship.
God told man and woman to be fruitful and multiply — first parent/child and sibling/sibling relationships.
And on it went as the Earth was filled with people. People who had to learn how to relate to one another in a sin-cursed world.
This is not an easy task. Just do a quick read through the book of Genesis and you’ll find all kinds of relationship struggles.
Those struggles are just as real today and I want my girls to be as prepared as they can to face them.
When asked the greatest commandment, Jesus summed it up this way:
“That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence – and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” Luke 10:27 (the Message)
Loving your neighbor as well as you do yourself.
This gets me every time because I know I fall so short of living up to this high calling.
Loving myself is pretty easy. From choosing which outfit to wear to setting the course of my day, most choices are made with what’s easiest, most convenient, or beneficial to me.
Yes, I take care of my children and my husband and I serve others, but if I’m honest, much of the time I’m actively, and re-actively, functioning out of selfish ambition.
I see this in my children, too. Even my two year old little girl has the ability to try and manipulate each one of us in order to get her way, make people happy, or fight against what she doesn’t want.
Loving others takes work, most of the time. Because it means I have to sacrifice that selfish ambition that I love so much.
Think of others first.
These are just three simple phrases. But maybe in just a very small way they capture how to relate to people not just outwardly through words and actions, but even at the heart and mind level.
Because I can make rules for my girls to follow, telling them what to do and what not to do. But if their hearts aren’t being changed by God’s love, then any love they might show in their relationships will be empty.
This is Day 23 of a series “Lessons for my Daughters”. Click here for a complete list of posts.