“ … and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds …”
Nine-year-old Nathan was showing signs of stress and emotional struggle. He was having a hard time being obedient and having difficulty getting along with one of his friends. So one evening I invited him into my bedroom to talk. He joined me on the couch and laid his head on my lap. Then he looked up at me with resigned eyes and said, "You know this isn’t going to last long!”
Sure enough, over the course of the next hour, the phone rang six times. Each of the other children bounded into the room needing me for some "important” task. Clay stuck his head in to ask me about an article that needed writing. The dinner dishes were unwashed, Joy needed an asthma treatment, and bedtime for everyone was approaching quickly.
To Nathan's surprise, however, as each person interrupted, I said, "I will be with you as soon as I can, but I have something important to do right now. I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone. Sarah, you do Joy's asthma treatment. Joel, you start cleaning the kitchen. And please don’t interrupt me again.”
Each time I said it, Nathan looked at me with big, doubtful eyes. But he relaxed more and more as the hour went on. I began to scratch his back and gently massage his head. And then, eventually, he began to talk.
Nathan shared with me his hurt feelings and insecurity regarding a couple of his friends. He spoke to me about feeling lonely. He shared some secrets. I had the opportunity to talk with him, to share some verses with him, and to pray with him.
As I tucked Nathan into bed later that night, he said, "You know, Mom, when you spend time with me and talk to me and encourage me, I want to do the right things. But when I'm lonely or having a hard time, and you don't spend time with me, I'm really tempted to want to do wrong!"
Who in your life needs some encouragement toward love and good deeds—maybe in private?