The other day, Caleb came home from school and had a really hard time having anything nice to say to his brother. He picked at his weaknesses, ridiculed him, and was downright mean. I had to take Caleb aside and call a time out. What the heck?
And this is how that conversation went…
Me: “Caleb, we all have weaknesses and things that we are not good at. It is just not ok to be so unkind and hurtful to your brother. You have things that are hard for you too, and he is not picking at those. He does not deserve this kind of treatment!”
Caleb: “Well, I am going to have to use a metaphor that I hope you understand. I have this battery of kindness. It is pretty full when I get to school. All day long, I use up bits of my kindness with my classmates and teachers. By the time I get home, my battery is nearly empty. I guess it is all the way empty right now.”
Aside: We had Jeff the behavioral therapist come to Czech and stay with us for about a week when our kids were younger to help us with some things. One of the striking things that I remember him telling me is that kids with Aspergers are pretty good at explaining themselves if you give them a chance. Word!
Me: “Caleb, I am so happy that you are able to explain yourself like this. It makes perfect sense. But, you are not trapped by what your battery can hold. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit inside of you and you have access to a whole lot of kindness from God to refill that battery whenever you need to. You just need to remember to ask him, God is all about giving you the fruits of the Spirit. You just have to ask him for them.”
Real life: Every person in our little family has a hard time focusing and we often forget that things can be easier if we just ask God for help. I do it all of the time. I would say that Casey and Beni either have larger kindness batteries, or they are way better at asking God for help. When I used these words with Caleb, I was speaking to myself too. How often do I rely on my own batteries?
With my Bible study group in Czech (that I have had to complete from Poland), we started the Priscilla Shirer Bible study called Gideon. I love anything by Priscilla. Something that has really stuck with me from this study is that “our weaknesses are the key to God’s power.” When we realize that we are weak in an area and actually give it to God to help us, his power shines. It is great if we are good at something and give glory to God for the great ability that we have (all good things do come from the Lord), but what about the people that are terrible at things and God gives them the ability to overcome? How much brighter does God’s glory shine in those places?
Now, to remember to ask God for that “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” (Galatians 7:22-23).