“They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.As I picture my children, with that song running melodically through my mind, I am having a little trouble reconciling the image with the lyrics. I keep thinking about how my children play together and wondering what it would look like to a stranger. Would they look loving and kind? Or selfish and uncaring? As I type this, the four older children are all playing Lego’s together (the baby is napping, thank goodness) and the voices coming from the room are a mixture of cooperative play and bickering, laughter and conflict. My oldest daughter is being a little bossy, as is her way. My oldest son seems to be hoarding the best Lego’s, as is his way. The other two sound like they are getting along with each other but I hear them snapping at their older siblings, par for the course for the two of them. So, is the room exuding love? Not exactly. Is the spirit of Christianity thriving in their interactions with each other? Again, not exactly.
They will know we are Christians by our love.”
So, would an outsider be able to tell my children are being raised with faith? And if so, how? I honestly am not sure how to answer the question, even after pondering it all week. My children are very normal kids. They are amazingly kind and loving one moment, helping out their baby sister, drawing pictures for Tim and I, my five year old even washed the dishes yesterday because, as he said, “I want to do something nice for you.” Then, the next minute they are not quite so kind and loving, fighting with each other, making messes and leaving them for someone else to clean up, getting annoyed when asked to do their chores, making excuses for irresponsible actions. In fact, if a stranger showed up unexpectedly at my door for a short visit, I’m not sure what he or she might witness. If a stranger showed up at the right time they might be blown away by the Christian service in my home, but at the wrong time they might not be convinced that my children have ever heard a Bible story or been taken to Mass- ever (let alone every week of their lives!) This is not the answer I was hoping to give but… like any other Christian, the people in my house, grown ups and kids alike, are sinners. Our home is faith-filled but we are imperfect. So, while an outsider might be a little confused as to our values, God thankfully can see into our hearts and He knows we are trying. He knows that even with our imperfections we are filled with love, both for Him and for each other- it just is sometimes a little harder to see than others.
For the record, though, I am planning to continue reflecting on this question in the hopes that I may come up with something a little more definitive, a little more positive. Because the truth is my kids are really good kids, they are faith-filled and certainly there is undeniable evidence of that in their everyday actions and interactions. So, stay tuned…..