Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Nice? To Her?!?!?!

The sign hanging from a pink polka-dotted ribbon boldly declared, “DO NOT DISTURB.” What better invitation did a twelve-year-old need to barge into her older sister’s room?

“Get out!” the eldest yelled, “And I mean now!” Rather than leave quietly, the younger began a volley of less than loving words. The older was more than up to the challenge. After several rounds, the younger finally ended it with a slam dunk and a slammed door. With determination she set off to find a sympathetic ear (a.k.a. me, her mom.)

In an effort to justify herself, my younger daughter let fly a string of examples to prove she is always mistreated by my older one. I listened patiently, finally counseling her to “just be nice to your sister.” (This seemed the motherly thing to say)

“Why?” She demanded, “Why should I be nice to her?” (With an emphasis on “her” as if uttering “her” real name might cause regurgitation.) Without waiting for a reply she proceeded to list all the reasons her older sister did not deserve kindness. And while there was some truth to her words, I knew her sister could compile a similar list. Exasperated by this time, I once again admonished the younger to treat her sister with kindness. She looked at me with her own frustration and demanded once more, “Why should I?”

All the good things her sister had done for her were on the tip of my tongue waiting to fly off like messengers of grace to bridge this valley in my daughters’ relationship. I realized, however, that the younger was not in the Land of Reason, so I decided to put it bluntly, “Because I said to.”

She gave me a bewildered look and left deciding, I suppose, the cat appeared to be more sympathetic than I.

I began to think.

How often do we, God’s children, exchange cross words with one another justifying each one? Do we explain to God why we can’t be nice to So & So, detailing all the reasons they don’t deserve kindness?

Perhaps the reason we are to treat our “brothers” and “sisters” with love is not because they deserve it, but because Dad said to.

That’s something to think about.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

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Sisters who usually get along.

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