A few weeks ago I was driving one of our curvy, back country roads. My wild boy was asleep in the back and it was one of those rare sunny days in the middle of a snowy February. As I was driving, I passed a sweet, old church. I have always been obsessed with church signs. They are the “twitter” of my childhood. Short, sweet, sometimes “punny,” but always memorable. Some of my favorite classics: “Seven days without prayer makes one weak,” “Jesus and Germs: You can’t see them, but they’re both here,” and “Fall for Jesus, He never leaves” (knee slapper, right there.)
But the one I read as I rolled past on this day changed my life. It was short but very memorable indeed. It read: Live Simply. Speak Kindly. Love Unconditionally. Wow, I thought. I’ve already failed at all three today and it’s not even noon. I had bought something that I knew I didn’t need. I had said something unkind. And I had refused my husband grace for something he had done, that in the view of eternity wouldn’t amount to much. This sign was not so much a knee slapper, but a heart wrencher.
If that little mantra doesn’t sum up how to be like Jesus I don’t know what does. It has been in my head and on my heart ever since. It is helpful for me to repeat something in my head when I feel myself on the verge of an emotion explosion. When I walk into the disaster area a.k.a. my living room full of train pieces/ grapes smashed into the carpet/ the dog being rode like a bull I say in my head “He won’t be little for long.” Or when my husband tracks dripping snow all over the house just to come and kiss us goodbye, I clench my teeth and whisper to myself “It’s okay, you own a Swiffer.”
Ephesians 4: 32 “Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.”
This little sign can be applied to every situation we face. Our days are full of choices. A choice to over-complicate or simplify. A choice to react harshly or use kind words. A choice to hold the sins of others over their heads or offer unconditional love. And in the quest of making Him greater and me less, I choose to live simply, speak kindly, and offer unconditional love.