These are my people.
And they need me.
To feed them, wash their clothes, cook their meals, educate them, correct inappropriate behavior, discipline them, teach them manners, listen to their troubles, rejoice in their accomplishments, hug them when they are sad, smile at them 'just because', share my life experiences, support them, encourage them, teach them about God, read the Scriptures ...
and LOVE them.
When they make mistakes. Sin purposefully. Speak disrespectfully. Offend one another. Disobey. Defy authority. Lie. Steal. Exhibit selfishness.
If I am to be holy as God is holy ...
think of others as better than myself ...
forgive seventy times seven ...
then I must humble myself before my children, no matter how angry or hurt I might be, and show them what the long-suffering, patience and steadfast love of the Father looks like. I must show them that no matter how often they fail, how many times they must repent of their sin, or seek forgiveness from another ...
I still love them.
And more importantly,
God loves them.
It was because of His love that He sent His Son to die for their sins, giving them the choice to accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life. God's love is that great - and He willingly offers it to those who will accept it.
He offers it to my children.
Micah, Luke, Caleb, Josiah, Isaiah, Ellie
And for right now, He has called me to love them - as He loves them.
It is not easy, but I must persevere, doing my best to be obedient so that my children can see the Father in me. And it is when I overlook an offense, forgive a crime, and quickly forgive that they most understand what unconditional love looks like. And hopefully, it will make them want it from the One - who loved us first.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39