Do I Really Love My Family?
"Mom, my legs hurt. Can you rub them?"
"Ugh," I thought to myself. "I don't want to! He's gotta be faking anyway. He just wants to stay up. I'm sooo tired and I'm already half asleep. He just needs to go back to bed."
But I heard a whisper in my soul. "What is love?"
- Is love serving my family only when I feel like it?
- Is love taking care of my own desires and fitting in other people when it's convenient?
- Is love doing the things for my kids that make me happy and ignoring the rest?
I knew the answer.
"Come here, bud. Mommy's legs used to hurt like that sometimes when I was young too. You must be growing." And I rubbed and rubbed those little legs until not only was my little boy happy, but I was happy too.
"It truly is more blessed to give than to receive."
I don't know why I'm so selfish. But I am. It's one thing to say that I love my family. It's another thing to show it by my actions.
The Bible sure does have a lot to say about what real love is and it has nothing to do with what makes me happy.
I find that to truly love my family I must:
- Serve them (Galatians 5:13)
- Lay down my life for them (John 15:13)
- Be longsuffering and patient with their mistakes (I Corinthians 13:4)
- Be kind to them (I Corinthians 13:4)
- Not allow little things to get under my skin (I Corinthians 13:5)
- Die to my own desires (I Corinthians 13:5)
- Treat them the way I want to be treated myself (Mark 12:31)
We may say "I love my family!" but I think what we often mean by that phrase is this: "My family makes me happy! They are so precious! My kids make me smile, and my husband is so good to me!"
How subtle! Loving our family is often all about us and we don't even realize it. Look at how many me's and my's are in the statements above!
Loving our family has nothing to do with how they make us feel and everything to do with laying down our lives daily for them.
Granted, selfless service generally creates an atmosphere of peace. Our families will generally reciprocate to some extent and we probably will feel happy. But what if that doesn't happen?
We are still called to love - to sacrifice and to die to ourselves.
So whenever you catch a glimpse of your "I love my family!" bumper sticker, ask yourself, "Do I really love my family?"
I guarantee it won't be a one time decision. It's a day-by-day, moment-by-moment choice to lay aside all that pleases ourselves in order to serve others.
But it's a choice you won't regret. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.
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