As I bustled around the kitchen preparing supper for my family a little neighbor girl poked her head in our back door. “I’m thirsty,” she whined.
I was not feeling kindly toward this child who often pinched my children and said horribly mean things to them until they came to me in tears.
“Ask your mother,” I replied as I went about my work. But no sooner had she gone than my conscience pricked me. What could be more basic Christianity than giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child? Especially one for whom I had been praying since she and her mother moved next door!
My heart sank as I realized my lack of love for this child. I was the one who needed prayer—that my attitude would change and I would show a forgiving spirit. It is so humbling to have your faults clearly pointed out by a child.
Love is Patient
“Love is patient. Love is kind…” I knew those words from 1 Corinthians 13 so well. But I was not practicing them that day. Author Ellen White wrote: “Read this chapter (1Corinthians 13) every day and from it obtain comfort and strength. Learn from it the value God places on sanctified, heaven-born love, and let the lesson that it teaches come home to your hearts. Learn that Christlike love is of heavenly birth, and without it all other qualifications are worthless.” 1
The next time the neighbor girl played in our yard I offered all the children a drink of juice, and we talked about how things were going at school. She helped us wash our family’s van in the driveway. Then, with her hand in mine, we walked next door and asked her mom if we could wash their car, too.