“I’m OK, You’re OK” is the title of a former best-selling book. “I Stink, You Stink” is the reality behind many soured relationships.
God’s love “affects me because I feel loved, and that makes me love other people,” says Rachel, 9.
Rachel has identified the key to healthy relationships. When we know God loves us in our heads and sense his love in our hearts, we don’t try to put people in the place of God. Don’t make an idol out of any human relationship.
Everyone needs love. Only God gives us perfect, unconditional love all the time. Consider yourself a channel for letting God’s love flow through you, and you might be surprised at what flows back.
“The love of God comes through your spirit and makes you want to treat other people as God would want to treat other people,” says Courtney, 10. “The love that comes from God is everlasting, everywhere and is faithful.”
“I don’t stay mad as long,” says Stacy, 10. “It used to take days. Now, it takes about an hour to cool off. Once, I got so mad at one of my friends that I didn’t talk to her for a week. And she remembers it, too.”
Stacy, your struggle with anger reminds me of a story, told by Michael Hodgin, of a golfer who stormed off the course after throwing his golf bag into a lake. His friends thought he had cooled off when they saw him wading into the water. He fished out the dripping bag, unzipped the side pocket, took out his car keys and flung the bag back into the lake.
Abiding in God’s love is the “key” to maintaining your cool under pressure, says Jared, 10. “Knowing God’s love helps you because you know that God will find a way to make things end up good. He can turn an impossible situation into a good one.”
God’s love can transform laziness into helpfulness, says Nicole, 10.
“Sometimes, I help my mom do dishes or clean the house. I help my dad by taking out the trash.”
That’s love with feet on it, Nicole. But the real foot story belongs to Ephraim, 10: “Sometimes when you play soccer, someone knocks you down. If you want to hit him back, that’s not the love of God. If you want to get him or her back, you lose your concentration, and you build up anger. If you had the love of God, you would be able to concentrate and not build up anger.”
Anger in the form of revenge or bitterness can trip you up in soccer and in life. The Apostle Paul advocated forgiving one another “even as Christ forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
“The love of God is very strong, and he gives that love to you,” says Lindsay, 9. “In everything you do and everything you say, God will show you the right way to do or say it.”
Jordon, 10, shares examples of that right way. “When somebody is being picked on or has no friends, cheer them up. If somebody gets hurt, try to help them and see if they’re OK.”
Think about this: Only God’s love flowing through you can transform “I Stink, You Stink” relationships into “I’m Loved, You’re Loved.”
Memorize this truth: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Ask this question: Am I a channel for God’s love that blesses others, or am I a dam that tries to hold on to everything for myself?
By Carey Kinsolving