Love’s Best at Home
The story of friendship anywhere is a story of cost and suffering, but it is in the home that it must suffer the most and make the greatest sacrifices. When husband and wife clasp hands at the marriage-altar, they can fulfill their covenant of love only by mutual loving unto death. It may cost either of them a great deal to love as they have promised to do, until death separates them. Here is a man who loves his wife with a devoted affection. For ten years she has been a helpless invalid; and he has carried her from the bed to the chair, and up and down stairs, and has ministered to her in a most beautiful way – failing in nothing that she needed or craved, and pouring out his life’s best treasures to give her comfort or pleasure. This is ideal. Thus should it be in all the home relationships. Love that stops at no cost or sacrifice should be the law of the home life.
It should be the same with all the qualities of love. We are to exercise patience with every person we may meet, in all the relationships of life; but we should show the sweetest and most Christlike patience in our own homes. Kindness is the great law of Christian life. It should be the universal law. We should be kind to everyone – not only to those who treat us with love; but also to those who are ungentle to us, returning to them love for hate. But in our own home and toward our own family members, our kindness should not only be unvarying, but also exceptionally tender.
One writer suggests that members of a family – when they separate for the night or even for the briefest stay – should never part in anything except an affectionate way, lest they shall never meet again. Two incidents illustrate the importance of this rule. A distinguished man, when he was much past middle life, related an experience which occurred in his own home in his young manhood. At the breakfast table one morning, he and a younger brother had a sharp quarrel about some unimportant matter. He confessed that he was most unbrotherly in his words, and that he was speaking with bitterness. The brother rose and left the table and went to his business, very angry. Before noon, the younger man died suddenly in his office. Twenty years afterward, when the older brother spoke of the occurrence, he said that it had cast a shadow over all his life. He could never forgive himself for his part in the bitter quarrel. He had never ceased to regret, with sore pain, that no opportunity had come to him to confess his fault and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
The other incident was of the parting of a working-class man and his wife. He was going forth to his day’s duties, and there was a peculiar tenderness in his mood and in their good-bye that morning. He and his wife had their prayer together after breakfast. Then he kissed the babies, sleeping in their cribs, and returned a second time to look into their sweet faces. The parting at the door had never been so tender as it was that morning. But before half the day was gone, the men brought him home dead. However, the wife received great comfort in her sorrow from the memory of that morning’s parting. If their last words together had been marked by unkindness, wrangling, or even indifference or lack of tenderness, her grief would have been harder to bear. But the lovingness of the last parting took away much of the bitterness of the sorrow.
If we keep ourselves always mindful of the shortness of life – that any day may be the last in our home fellowships – it will do much to make us gentle and kind to each other. We will not act selfishly any hour, for it may be our last hour together. We will not let strife mar the good cheer of our home life any day, for we may not have another day.
What can you do right now to show gentleness and kindness to your parents, spouse, children, or siblings? Pray to the Lord Jesus for grace and strength to show your family members that unvarying and tender love that stops at no cost or sacrifice!
I love to hear from my readers – please feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions in the Comments section below!
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for the King’s glory,
photo by Prixel Creative on Lightstock.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on our website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.