She gets off the bus and runs to me. With arms ready to wrap around my legs, I can see it in her eyes. She’s home…safe. Even though we’ll still journey down the block to our house, she’s at home next to me.
I grab her backpack as we walk.
“How was your day?” I always ask. “Good,” is always her reply.
“Who did you play with at recess?” is typically the next question out of my mouth. I’m not sure why I care more about the relationships she nurtured than the knowledge she gained throughout the day. But I do. I suppose that says a lot about me.
People are so much more important than math or spelling or science.
Because she can learn to love art and recess and even math, but unless she learns to love others, it’s sort of pointless.
So I ask her daily about who she played with. I ask her if she invited anyone to join the normal group of friends she gravitates towards. I encourage her to not only play with the girls she’s most comfortable with but to also play with the new girls in her class. And I always, always implore her to be aware of those that seem alone or without friends.
And her six year old self still plays with the same girls over and over again. Because it’s safe and comfortable. But I will continue to ask and we’ll continue to discuss that love isn’t always safe. Love isn’t always comfortable.
But love is best. Love wins. All.the.time.
Because love isn’t about us. It’s starts with God and overwhelms us until it flows out of our hearts onto those we encounter. That is what love is and that is the beauty of the story we get to be a part of.
That story plays out in her classroom, on the playground and in the lunchroom. That story plays out for me at the grocery store, with our families and in our home.
As I continue to encourage my daughter to let love win in her own life and in the life of our family, I look to the Word to see what it says about love.
What the Bible Teaches about Love
God is love. Love starts in our relationship with him.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
God’s love is abundant and faithful. His love is present and big and gentle.
But you, oh Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
God’s love is personal and unique. His love is unique to us because he knows us and loves us individually.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. . .You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. . . Psalm 139:1-2, 5
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” ~ Augustine
I want to teach my children this very important lesson that God loves all people with a love unique to them, because he knows us personally and intimately. He created every single one of us. I love to share stories with my daughter from the God’s Love for You Bible Storybook. We love to read the real life accounts of people in other nations and how God is loving them through others. The more she understands how God loves others, the more she will be able to love others like he does.
Our love flows out of being loved by Him. When we know and understand his love, we know and understand how to love others.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
The greatest commandment is love. Loving is the most important way to live well. The gift of loving God and loving others is the most important gift we can give and receive in life.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39
The nature of love. 1 Corinthians 13 (the Love chapter) is a wonderful expression of the nature and characteristics of love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We must love with not only our words, but our actions as well. It’s not enough to say we love someone. We must show our love by how we act.
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Reading stories in God’s Love for You Bible Storybook shows my children ways we can love with our actions. Though those tangible actions are big and may not be feasible just yet in their lives, the stories are training their hearts and minds to think towards big acts of love. In the meantime, I simply encourage them to love by serving and giving of their time, talent and treasure. This can be as big as faithfully giving a tithe from their own money or as simple as taking time to write a sweet note to a friend or loved one (right now my daughter is absolutely obsessed with the Share a Blessing book – such an adorable way to encourage this type of actionable love).
As I study what the Bible teaches about love, I am challenged to put these truths into action in my own life. I know that as I do, I will be modeling true love for my children.
And more importantly than modeling organization or diligence or hard work, I want to model true love.
After all, love wins.
How do you model for your kids what the Bible teaches about love?