Paper Plates

John 4:7-8 “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.”

The boys thought it would be a super great idea to tape paper plates to their feet tonight and race around the house. Yeah I don’t know why or how they came up with this plan. But they found some plates, found some tape, and off they went sliding around the house. It was all fun and games until they reached the finish line (bedroom door). Brady slid in first and Eli fell right on top of him.

And then World War Three broke out on Lawn Drive.

I’m sighing out loud as I write this because it’s a constant never ending drama in our house. The boys decide to play something or make something or do something and in a manner of minutes, the fun turns into fighting, and yelling, and screaming.

Punches get thrown.

Feelings get hurt.

My hair turns a little more gray.

Every. Single. Time.

Sigh.

My boys are very different. Eli is balls to the wall, high energy, wakes up ready to take on the world.

Don’t you dare wake Brady up. Yikes.  But he is the more  calm and gentler one of the two (if you don’t wake him up). Our 13 year old cat Ali certainly prefers Brady over his brother any day.

The 2 year old crazy Labrador? Yeah Eli’s her kid.

But my boys do love each other. They really do.Yet they are different and it is hard to live together when you have such completely different personalities. Someone always gets mad at the other person. Someone always gets their feelings hurt. There is always (ALWAYS) a disagreement.

And  then they start throwing punches.

Tonight after the plate incident, Eli crawled into the bed with me and I asked him if he had apologized to Brady. He leaned his little head on my shoulder and sighed “Not yet, but he will forgive me, he always does.”

And it’s true. He will forgive him. He is his brother and it will be forgotten..for the moment at least.

I take comfort in the fact that my boys still love each other despite all of the fighting and the disagreements and the differences. They know they are family first and even though they don’t always see things the same way, they do ultimately, in the end, love each other.

See where I’m going with this?

As Christians, Jesus commands us to love our neighbors. He commands us to love one another. He commands us to be devoted to others, including people might not feel so hot about us.

The Bible doesn’t say to love only the neighbors who are just like you.

The Bible doesn’t say to be devoted to the people who think just like you.

God  wants you to love those people and oh yeah-the rest of the world too.

Even the ones we don’t see eye to eye with. Even the ones who see us as their enemies.

Love them all. Wrap them up in it. Smother them with kindness and understanding and warmth. Be gracious. Be a light.

Brady will wake up in the morning and probably disagree with his brother about 20 more times before the day is over. But at the end of the night, just like every night, he will give his baby brother a hug and pray that Eli has a good night.

We are all God’s children, all part of the same family, and no matter what, we are all called to love one another. Even if our paper plate shoes cause us to crash into one another. Even if we don’t agree. Even if our feelings get hurt.

Love is God’s greatest gift. It’s our most powerful weapon.

It’s the only medicine that will truly heal us.

And it’s the only thing that will ever truly unite us.