Most days my kids get along like peanut butter and jelly. But some days it’s more like peanut butter and mayonnaise.
She thinks I really need to know that her sister called her a bad name and took the Lego that she needed for her Lego house.
Her sister thinks I really need to know that she had the Lego first and, by the way, she only called her a name because she called her a name first.
Pretty soon, everyone’s crying and shouting and interrupting each other with “nah-ah” and “ah-hah” and “I didn’t” and “She did.”
They’re waving their arms frantically at me as if that helps me understand the complicated chain of events that led to this sibling explosion.
Maybe a better mom than me could sort through all the noise to discover the instigator, the true culprit here, and the ultimate source of injustice.
Me? I’m not that better mom. All I know is they needed to stop fighting in my face, like, 5 minutes ago because it’s totally trampling all over my peace and happy, holy, Jesus-girl joy.
And what about minivan fights? I can’t even send them to separate corners because seatbelts have certain restrictions and even though these children are driving me crazy at the moment, I do actually love them and want them to be safe. So I can’t tie one to the roof or anything.
Pretty soon, I’m the crazy mom behind the wheel whispering the name of “Jesus” over and over again because there’s nothing I need more at that moment than some saving grace.
When we fought as kids, my own mom used to make us quote Ephesians 4:29.
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29)
She’d interrupt the tattling and squabbling with, “What’s the Bible say?” And then, BAM, we’d have to quote Ephesians 4:29 at her. It’s pretty hard to keep on fighting while actively quoting the word of God.
So, I’m thinking of making up some of my own verse cards. Maybe a little Ephesians.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
And this one, too:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34)
Show kindness. Give grace. Be gentle, slow-to-anger.
And, I’m thinking as I whisper Bible-truth to my daughters that maybe this isn’t just a lesson for my kids.
It’s a lesson for the church.
We have our own way of erupting into sibling squabbles and could there be any uglier noise to God’s ears than His own children battling it out?
My daughters seem to think that I really want to hear about their sisters’ offenses.
And maybe sometimes in the church we think God really wants to hear what’s wrong with those around us. We think we’re somehow doing God a favor, rooting out unrighteousness or hypocrisy, failure or imperfection.
Saul (who became Paul) did. He plowed through the New Testament church like a raging bull in a china shop, smashing to pieces any believers he encountered.
He was a murderer, a church-persecutor, thinking he was doing God’s will the whole time.
But when Jesus showed up as a blinding light in the middle of a highway to Damascus, Saul crashed to the ground and heard this:
“Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:3).
It’s a stunning question, because Saul didn’t even know who this was. This was the resurrected Jesus he didn’t even believe in.
So, when Saul asked his own question, “Who are you?” Jesus gave the shocking reply:
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! (Acts 9:5).
Persecuting Jesus? Nah. Saul was persecuting wayward Jews who were tainting the law. That’s what he thought.
But Jesus takes it personally when we hurt His people.
Instead of taking it to prayer, instead of confessing our own sins or showing grace, instead of overlooking faults or even speaking the truth but doing it in love, we’re making a horrible racket of hurting our brothers and sisters in Christ.
No, we’re not killing one another or sending each other off to prison like Saul did. But too much of the time, we’re acting out of self-righteous rage, not love.
And that’s just noise to Him.
So maybe God can ask us that same question when we’re all enthusiastic about condemning another believer.
Why are you persecuting ME?
Oh Lord, forgive us. We didn’t know that was You we were hurting all along.
Want to read more about the questions God asks?
Check out my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord, available in paperback and for the Kindle and nook!
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King