On a recent business trip, there are two families that stand out in my memory. One is a couple who sat down by me at the lunch table at the airport.
"Why are you talkin' to me?" The woman's voice was nearly shouting as she glared at her husband. "I'm hungry, and you know I don't like anyone talking to me when I'm hungry."
"Yes, I know." The husband's words came out as a sigh, and he slumped into the chair and waited as she went to order food.
No matter what the sitcoms say, family life is not about outsmarting others to get what you want or putting down others to make yourself look better. Too many people throw in the towel on kindness and instead pick up their boxing gloves, fighting for individual fulfillment in their family. If you pay attention, the mantra you might see displayed in the actions of family members is "It's all about me."
Contrast the first family with the one who sat at the table after they left. It was a young couple with two preschool-aged kids. They didn't even speak English, but I didn't need to understand their words to witness their love and respect for each other.
They smiled at each other. They worked as a team, helping to calm two tired kids. They talked with soft voices and gentleness, and they made a good impression, proving our acts do tell more abut us than even our words.
Our world is in desperate need of family members like this—those who strive to love and to serve, even when they're hungry, tired and overwhelmed.
Jesus' followers are called to stand out. To act in a way so unique and appealing that people sit up to notice, "What in the world?" This difference is love shown by a loving, serving heart:
A husband opening the door for his wife and complimenting her
A wife snuggled to her husband's side with a hand on his knee and a smile
Children speaking to their parents with respect and volunteering to offer a helping hand
These scenes like this get your attention, don't they? Jesus knew they would. In John 13:35 He says, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (NIV).
In many families, love has become misplaced and reinterpreted: "You love me if you do XYZ."
The good news is there is a better way. There is a way to be noticed ... in the right way.
Get "caught" doing this:
1. Watch your tongue. (Enough said.)
2. Display gentleness and respect in your body language.
3. Don't think, "It's all about me." Love, give, serve.
4. Work as a team in challenging times and with difficult kids.
5. Read God's Word to learn what "a better way looks" like.
6. Turn to Jesus and as His Spirit to fill you and guide you as you strive to live positively noticeable.
7. Finally, make kindness your first response, trusting your family members will do the same.
Tricia Goyerhas written more than 35 books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and nonfiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.