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A simple kiss, lightly brushed on her cheek. He took a few steps and then another kiss was gently placed on another cheek.   In that moment I realized we had something really precious as my 13 year-old son had just kissed mom and dad good-night and then quickly gave simple yet sweet kisses good-night to his two older sisters.  No manipulation, no groans of ‘yuck’ or snubs as he walked past.

I turned to my husband and asked, “Did you kiss your two sisters good-night when you were 13?”  “Um, NO! I was forced to hug and kiss them when we had a fight, that’s it,” was his reply.

So, why this simple gesture between my children?

A small display of love, a simple reminder of sweet innocence and brotherly (& sisterly) affection!

As I have pondered this brief example of kindness and love I remember the turmoil of previous years that led Darrell and I to make a stringent rule to have a “STRIFE FREE HOME”.  I can honestly say our first two years of our marriage were anything but strife free; however, once we decided that divorce would never be an option and strife would only create more harm than good we made the choice to follow the instruction of Saint Peter when he admonished those who were of ‘like precious faith’ into ‘giving all diligence, …add to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love.”

But also for this very reason,  giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue  knowledge,  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,  to godliness brotherly kindness, and  to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound,  you  will be neither barren  nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:5-8 NKJV)

We saw his admonition as instruction in a more or less step-by-step approach to a fruitful and abundant life.  With diligence we would begin with faith and from there add virtue(defined intrinsic value, moral excellence, and goodness) adding knowledge then self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and soaking it all in with love.  We began with an examination of our own hearts and then praying for the Holy Spirit to infuse us with His wisdom and perseverance to diligently cultivate these characteristics in our own lives and then impart them to our children.

Over the years we have been on alert to the snare of strife and helped our children to recognize the jabs, teases or jesting causing hurt feelings, anger, resentment and ultimately strife.

Proverbs 26:18 – 19 says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!”

Our words, our teasing and our jesting are weapons we hurl when we have something in our own heart that needs healing.  If my children begin to hurl words like an assault weapon at one of their
siblings, I take it as a sign to stop and have a sweet moment of mommy love, compassion and prayer to draw out the hurt that is in their heart. To help them recognize their own wound, receive healing, offer forgiveness and then bring reconciliation to the troubled tribe.

My son’s sweet kiss was a gentle reminder of the brotherly love we have purposely cultivated in our home and the peaceful harmony from whole, healthy hearts.

It is here where brothers and sisters dwell in unity that God commands His blessings. (Psalm 133:1-3)

A home free of strife and filled with brotherly kindness and love is a bit of heaven on earth.