I hate that word, "always." Really, "always"? I almost wonder if we should take it out of the English dictionary. Or at least my vocabulary.
I want to retaliate. Really, do we need to wash the dress right now at 7:30am? The kitchen is a mess, the baby wants to be held and I'd rather just drink a cup of coffee. And there's that stinkin' word always. Why does she always have to make mornings so difficult?
"Okay, let's go wash the dress." We muddle through the function of each machine dial and while holding baby brother, get the dress she wanted to wear to school today in the wash machine.
I retreat to the kitchen mess and begin my one-handed clean-up. While singing "So Rise and Shine," the umpteenth time, I ponder.
She stomps back to the kitchen, throwing herself into her chair at the table. "Draw a goldenrod."
"What?" I ask in bewilderment. What does the goldenrod she learned about in iNature have anything to do with washing clothes?
"See, you don't know how to draw it. You need me to show you," she makes her point and spins back out of my sight.
Finally, I hear her say that I don't teach her. She's saying she'd like to know how and I'm not taking the five minutes to teach.
I return to her pouting body sprawled out on the living room floor, admit that I've not done a good job of teaching her, I'd like to do better and I suggest we return to the whirling washing machine to review the dials on the machine. Why do moms need to be willing to change? Can't I just be right all the time?
Thankfully, she bounded off to the bus with a kiss, hug and smile while I retreated to my coffee cup and study of 1 Peter.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9I've been studying the meaning of the word translated, "bless." Our English word, eulogy is derived from this greek word. Zodhiates argues that it would be better translated "speak well of one" and also in 1 Peter three, it implies asking God to act in one's life. The application couldn't have been more spot on for the morning that had just unfolded. Every inch of my being wanted to retaliate, yell, justify my actions but God says through Peter, don't shout back, don't criticize or insult your child but instead speak well of her, listen to her and ask God to work in her life.
So often, I think of Scripture applying to the really big things in life, like being hauled to court and sued for holding fast to your moral convictions. Not what happened over the breakfast table, at the checkout lane or on the highway. Thankfully, my nine-year old helped me see that it indeed applies to the seemly little occurrences and encounters.
The rest of verse nine says, speaking well of others no matter how they treat us is why we were called into God's family or saved, so that we can be spoken well of by God and invite His work in our lives. Through this loving, sympathetic conversation with the golden head, humbly admitting my wrong and inviting Him to work in her life, He will also always work in my life. These encounters refine me to make me more like Jesus. And I think that's a better use of the word always.
The next verses in 1 Peter 3 reference Psalm 34:12-16, which I understand to be a formula for wisdom or the fear of the Lord. ("Come, o children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord," Psalm 34:11.) Take a few minutes right now to mediate on these verses. How does God want you to pursue peace today so that He might work in your life as well as those you speak well of, no matter how they may criticize you.