The boys were playing in the living room. I asked if one of them could carry something to the basement for me. So, the older one cons the younger one into doing it. But in doing so, the younger was not without a whole slew of grumbling and complaining about his big brother.
Words came out of my mouth, embedded in my mind since childhood, in response to the complaints, "Don't do it for your brother, do it because you love me." Do you ever have moments, where the thoughts coming from your mouth nearly slap you in the face? God often shocks me with my own hypocrisy through parenting.
As I spoke to Zachary, I seemed to receive a life giving "jolt" to my hardening heart as the words, "Do it because you love ME" echoed in my thoughts. Sometimes, deep down, little sprigs of bitterness or selfish complaint or "that's unfair" thoughts can try and take root in my mind and heart concerning relationships with my brothers/sisters in Christ. Those relationships can be our spouses, children, family members, friends, church members, neighbors, etc. I wonder how often I or we withhold, refuse, neglect, grumble, complain because in "our" opinion someone is deemed unworthy, selfish, undeserving or wrong?
We are to love our brother more than ourselves, deserving or not. But more important, our first command is to love God, who is deserving of ALL our service and obedience. And God, who is deserving of our obedience, commands us to love our brother.
John 14:21 (NASB95)
21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who LOVES Me; and he who LOVES Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
I praise God, that when my rebellious nature wars with my spirit, I can recall the gentle words of my Father in Heaven, "do it because you love ME!"