Today my girls have started school. There has been a lot of chat over the last few weeks about what school will be like- what they will do, what they are looking forward to most,what is the most important thing they will learn.
I'm sure you can remember some important things you learnt at school. It might be how to drink milk noisily through a straw, or how to pull someone's hair without them noticing, or how being a certain way can make you 'cool' (or whatever word is now used today!). My girls consider tree climbing and dressing up to be some of the most important things they will learn at school (and I haven't the heart to tell them that I fear that there will - at least for the first example - be no teaching in this area - and very little in the second!). As a teacher I immediately leap to reading, writing, number......but with some consideration I have told my girls that the most important thing they will learn at school is how to love other people.
Unfortunately I fear that there will not be too much of this on the syllabus! As Christians we would nod to this and agree - but in reality, do our lives really reflect that this is what we believe? We value success -academic or personal; we value money; we value a wide Bible knowledge......the list goes on. Do we really believe that loving God and therefore loving other people are the most important things that we learn in life? Do I show my children this?
I know that learning to love other people has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. Loving people who I don't get on with. Loving people who I feel don't appreciate me. Loving my children when I've been up all night and they are screaming at 5pm. Loving my husband when I'm getting annoyed by little things. And I don't mean a 'feeling' - when your children are screaming that tea is 'yuckky' at 5pm and you're tired there is very little loving feeling. But I mean learning to see people as God sees them, understanding that everyone is made in His image - understanding that because He has loved and has forgiven me much, that I must bear with, look over, sacrifice and forgive others much also. I mean deciding I'm going to act in a loving way because grace has been shown to me.
I constantly fail at this - I often lose my rag, gossip, say and do things that are not loving. But if loving God and loving other people is the most important thing - then my life should look like a journey - moving from being less loving - to more loving- as the Holy Spirit transforms me. I want to pray that I make this a priority and I want to pray that I show my children this. That I commend them for seeking and talking to God. That I encourage and praise them for loving each other, their family, friends and people at school. I want my most important question at the end of school to be: 'What did you do to show you loved someone today?' 'And why did you do it?'
'Jesus loved Zacchaeus when nobody else did. He was Zacchaeus' friend, even when no-one else was. Because Jesus was showing people what God's love was like - his wonderful, Never Stopping, Never giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love'
Jesus Story Book Bible.
I'm like Zacchaeus - Jesus has loved me and rescued me and with His transforming grace I can love others. It's only as I know Jesus better that I will love others more.