“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind….And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37 &38 NIV).
When my grandsons were younger, they loved to torment one another: A poke here, a kick there, and a headlock for good measure. I had a mantra for them, “Be nice to your brother.” That helped them remember to be kind…sometimes. Now they’ve outgrown that stage, but they still occasionally give one another an “affectionate” poke or kick.
Most adults don’t torment one another with kicks, pokes, or headlocks. We use something more harmful: words. An unkind word here, a sarcastic tone there, and some backbiting gossip for good measure. Sometimes we just aren’t nice to one another.
I’m sure every one of us is guilty of those verbal pokes and kicks to our neighbors and to our spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ. Fortunately for us, Jesus will forgive us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With His assistance we can follow the second greatest commandment and love our neighbors.
Lord, forgive my unkind pokes, both the words and the thoughts, and teach me how to be nice to my brothers.