You are familiar with the game, right? One of your children will say something and the next will repeat it in a snarky tone. And back and forth and back and forth they go until someone gets annoyed and whacks the other one in the head. Ok, so maybe your scenario doesn’t end like that – boy I hope not! – but ours frequently does.
The same thing happens with copying behavior. He locked the gate on her so she locked it on the other sister. There’s a saying in our house, “His (Her) wrong doesn’t make your wrong right.” But it still happens. I have to ask myself why they won’t copy the good behavior. If he held the door, or volunteered to get your milk out of the fridge for you, why aren’t you passing that on?! We have to work on that.
After witnessing this behavior the other day, I asked myself, who am I copying? My mom? My dad? My sister? My husband? A friend? It’s so easy to find examples to mimic. Not all of them are positive and some we mimic because we envy the life they seem to have or the accomplishments they rack up.
Ephesians 5:1 & 2
Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
Geeze Paul! Set a standard, would ya? But Paul says “as beloved children.” Children can’t imitate terribly complex things. Mine get confused if the clap pattern goes over five claps. That means this can’t be terribly hard, can it?
“Walk in love.” Be kind to people. Don’t talk about them behind their backs. Help when you can. Listen when they speak. And do it always. Not just when you are having a good day or it’s convenient. I like the word walk here. A walk isn’t terribly strenuous. It’s a one foot in front of the other kind of thing. It’s a pace where two can travel together in good and bad.
“Gave Himself up for us.” Think of others first. Make time for that phone call. Go out-of-the-way to have a cup of tea. Deliver a meal. Hold a hand. Pray. I think this is one that you only get with a LOT of practice. Self preservation is one of the prime dangers of faith. We fear letting others see us vulnerable. We want to keep the undesirable at arm’s length.
“A sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” I have a boy, a baby and two dogs. Aromas at my house are…well…interesting. But right now there are chocolate chip cookies in the oven and my house smells AWESOME!! The honeysuckle is blooming outside and that is fantastic too! Think of all your favorite smells. Imagine being enveloped in that all day every day. How happy would you be? How happy would we make the Heavenly Father if we were a fragrant sacrifice?
At first glance imitating God looks like a daunting task. But when we break it down and really look at the core of love, it’s not as tough as it seems. If we let God fill us with His love and don’t hoard it but let it flow, we actually can be imitators of Christ.
And remember this. When Top Middle copies Top Kid, he never makes a perfect copy. His mannerisms are different; his voice is different. He still says and does the same thing but he is not an exact replica. Because he isn’t Top Kid. We aren’t Christ. We will not ever be able to get every single thing right. But we can act like Him and we can speak like Him. The funny thing is when I hear Top Middle mimicking, I seek out the one he is mimicking to see how close he came.
May others seek out the Father because of your impersonation of Christ!