Bible Reading of the Day: Read 1 John 4:7-11.

Verse of the Day: “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God” (1 John 4:7).

“That man is impossible!” Dad thundered as he slammed the kitchen door behind him.

“Dear,” Mom said with concern, “is something wrong?”

“Yes, something’s wrong!” Dad bellowed. “It’s that George Crump again!”

“He’s a hard man to love, isn’t he?” Mom said quietly, casting a worried glance toward the family room, where the children were watching television. She didn’t want them to overhear their father complaining about Mr. Crump again.

“Hard?” Dad echoed. “He’s impossible! He speaks against everything I suggest in the church board meetings!”

“Alex, can you keep your voice down, please?” Mom said. “The children are watch­ing television in the family room.”

“I’ve had it with him. The next time he opposes me or criticizes me, I’ll—”

Mom held her hands in the air in a gesture intended to soothe her husband. “Please hold it down,” she said.

“Hold it down! How can you ask me to hold it down?”

“Because I’m afraid they might hear their father doing what he tells them not to do.”

“What?” he said loudly. Then he repeated it, softer this time. “What?”

“You’ve been telling the children that it’s wrong to act spitefully because God is love. And you’ve been trying to help them see the need to act in love, even when it’s hard, right?” She waited until she saw him nod before continuing. “And remember, the other night, you tried to help them see how hard it must have been for God to love us, and yet he gave his only Son for us?”

Dad sighed wearily. “And I told them that, if God could love us when it was that hard, we could certainly love others, even when it’s hard.”

Mom nodded.

“Well,” Dad said, “it sure is hard to love George Crump. But I guess I need to practice what I preach.” Mom smiled.

Dad embraced her, then closed his eyes. “Father,” he began to pray, “forgive me for my unloving attitude toward George Crump. I sure do need your help to love him, but I commit to doing that right now. Amen.”

“Amen,” his wife repeated.

TO DISCUSS: Can you think of any times when it might have been hard for others to love you? During those times, who loved you anyway? Mom? Dad? God?

TO PRAY: Do you need to make a commitment to love someone? If so, take a few moments to speak the prayer Dad prayed above, changing it or adding to it as necessary.