subscribe Archive

Recent Blog Entries

Jackina Starksh_blog


Love’s Supremacy

Posted in the early evening by Jackina Stark


Children can be very self absorbed, and even mean to others. I haven’t known a child that hasn’t had such an impulse, and we need to be there to show them the supremacy and necessity of love.

Loving is the bottom line of the Christian life. Jesus said to “love as I love.” So along with teaching our children by testifying and by encouraging them to trust him and test his Word, we also tried to teach them to love.

Jesus said loving one another is an old and new commandment. I guess it is as old as God himself and as new as trying to love each new day. We never wanted the girls to think they would be children of the light just because they had Perfect Sunday School Attendance pins. There is one main question to be answered in life. Do you love?

I knew the “look” my daughter Leanne was telling her sister about. When I was a teenager, I made the mistake of looking at my dad that way. My superior stare said, “You are uncommonly stupid!” Dad, ordinarily a forbearing father, reacted by picking up a loafer I’d left on the dining room table and giving me a whack on the top of my presumptuous head.

Now years later Leanne had chosen to settle an issue with an acquaintance by flashing that same deadly look, and I decided not to ignore it.

“Leanne, come upstairs and talk to me.”

Suddenly running the sweeper and emptying the dishwasher sounded appealing to my ninth grader. I didn’t blame her. Confrontation is the pits.

She dragged herself into my room and looked at me with dread as I told her to come sit on my lap. She hesitated, not because she was almost as tall as I and felt too old for such a thing. She hesitated because my lap was too close for the misery she had begun to feel.

I have held Leanne thousands of times, but never to list the potential consequences of a choice some people may not have noticed or worried much about if they did. She sat on the edge of my lap and turned her face away from me.

I talked to the sliver of her face I could see: “Leanne, this afternoon there’s a girl out there who might feel crummy about herself simply because you looked at her with such contempt.”

Her body stiffened. I hated to say more, but I wanted to try to explain all the reasons why I had to make such a big deal about a look. “Now that girl may believe something about you that isn’t true, Leanne. She might think you’re mean, when the truth is few people on this planet are sweeter than you are.”

I put my hand on her face and tried to get her to look at me. Total resistance.

I had never been denied her blue eyes, but I had one more thing to say. “Leanne, most people know you’re a Christian, and sometimes even a look could eliminate your opportunity to show someone what God is like.”

Now the tears came. And now I would not let her resist my hand as I turned her face toward me so that I could tell her how much I loved her.

Finally she relaxed in my arms: “I’m sorry, Mama. I’m really sorry.” I brushed her tears away and told her I knew she was sorry. Forgiveness was swift and sweeping.

She was downstairs helping me find something to fix us for dinner a few minutes later, chatter and laughter replacing anger, guilt and shame. But I knew she had learned once more that being Christ’s was more than attending church each week as good as it is to worship and remember and learn with others. I John 3:11-24 tells us that loving “with actions and in truth. . . . is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest” in the presence of God.