"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor;"
My boys love each other. I know from the way they show care, from the way they play, from the way they enjoy each other's company. Not always do they show each other love. They have plenty of fights, give each other plenty of wounds (emotional & physical), & cause each other plenty of grief.
One conversation I had this morning at breakfast with my 4 year old was about tattling, or being a tattle tail. I had my back to the boys at the table, & I heard a spitting sound. I knew someone was guilty, which someone I did not know. I reminded my boys that spitting is against the rules, and asked them if they could tell me if spitting was a good idea at the breakfast table. They both answered "no, its not a good idea." I was going to leave it at that. I said, "ok, you know the rules. If you chose to break the rules again you will be in trouble."
James was not satisfied. He knew the guilty party because he witnessed it. He tried to make his brother confess. Instead, his brother lied. This upset him greatly, because we've also had lessons on truth lately (next post?).
He decided it was his job to tell his brother, "You don't lie. You need to tell me the truth." Hayden was not going to do it & we had a fun situation for us all. Here comes mom round 2.
So here I tried to teach about tattle tailing. I told them that if their brother was in trouble, or hurt, they should tell me right away. That is helping, protecting, and showing care. Telling mom to get a brother in trouble isn't kind. Mom's job is to correct & to give commands. ("tell the truth") vs. a brother's job which is to look out for, care for, love & support (exhortation to tell the truth, not command - "you know you should the truth").
We are learning what 'brotherly love' looks like in our house. Each does love, but each also loves himself most, values his own way above the other, & wants to be first. (wow, desire to be first, another post!)
Lord, help us learn to love each other well. To look out for one another, to put the other's need ahead of our own. Let me show them how to serve as I serve them. Lord give me eyes.to.See their struggle & wisdom to give correction. Lord give me patience to teach the same lesson over&over. Help me not to become frustrated with a lack of progress, but to notice small victories. Thank you for the chance to practice & grow. Amen.