Sins of the mother?

By Jessica Brodie

I try hard to raise my children as Christians, but I know I often fall short, particularly when the cries of the bold and vocal world start to overshadow the quiet whispers of Scripture. Scripture tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to gently correct fellow believers when they fall into temptation, to set our minds on Christ and others before any selfish desires or needs. I know all this in my mind and in my heart and soul.

And yet, when one daughter is running late and it’s because she’d stopped her own preparations to encourage her sister to get moving, why do things like, “Don’t worry about your sister. Worry about you. If she’s late, that’s on her,” come out of my mouth?

The world tells us to worry about ourselves. The world tells us it’s fine to give to the poor or help a neighbor in need—so long as it doesn’t hurt our own pocketbook too much. The world tells us to care for our family first, to fill our own cups first so we can pour out to others. I’m not discounting the need for self-care; we are God’s temples and His instrument, and respecting our bodies and ourselves is part of respecting our Creator.

But Jesus tells us that when one of our Christian brothers and sisters is suffering, then the whole body suffers. He teaches that we’re all in this together. He models sacrifice, even (and especially) at our own expense.

We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves—not after ourselves.

Paul tells us in Galatians 6, “A person will harvest what they plant. Those who plant only for their own benefit will harvest devastation from their selfishness, but those who plant for the benefit of the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity, and especially for those in the household of faith” (CEB).

We’re all in this together. Jesus tells us this. Paul tells us this. We know this in our hearts. We’re all connected and all one.

I pray that the next time one of my children gets themselves in trouble to help their sibling, I’ll praise their selfless generosity and modeling of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and not urge them to model the ways of the world and think about themselves.

We harvest what we plant.