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Imitating Jesus
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My daughter and I were in line at the grocery store when a woman cut right in front of us. I mean right in front! There was a small space between my cart and the man ahead of me, and she just wedged her way in. It was irritating because it was rude, and I was in a hurry. A few shoppers looked at me to see what my reaction would be—including my teenage daughter.

“Let it go, Mom,” she gently told me. “Just let it roll off your back. It’s not that big a deal.”

I looked at her in surprise because this is what I’ve taught her since she was little. I’d say, “Give people a break. You never know what they might be going through.” And now I saw that she really did listen through the years.

From the time our kids are little, they watch us—even when we don’t realize it. And they listen to us—even when we don’t realize it. When we run out of gas or forget something on our grocery list; when we stub a toe or burn the casserole; when the driver in front of us is slow or the bank teller is rude—they study how we react. And often, they imitate our actions.

Who Do We Follow?

So what’s a parent to do? If our kids imitate us, whom do we follow as an example? The answer is simple: Jesus.

Ephesians 5:1, 2 challenges us: “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”

If we spend time reading how Jesus treated people while He was here, we can imitate His ways. Jesus was accepting, patient, gentle, respectful, forgiving, and loving. It can be a beautiful ripple effect: we imitate Jesus, and our children imitate us.

Then when your child asks (as my daughter did when she was little), “Why were you so nice to that mean lady?” You can answer, “Because that’s the way Jesus would treat her, and we want to be like Him.”

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ©.

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