Family Life | Outdoing One Another

Outdoing One Another

My children, well . . . they bicker. Sometimes, they complain about each other. They’ve even been known to get mad at one another. As their mother, it's probably my greatest frustration. Therefore, I was excited when the Lord brought to life a Scripture for me and showed me a way to help my children apply God's word to their relationships.

Romans 12:9-13 (ESV) states: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” I love how God encourages us to “outdo one another in showing honor.” We took this Scripture and made it into a challenge. We allotted 40 days to focus on showing honor to one another--not only showing honor, but OUTDOING one another in honor.

We also spent those 40 days spying on others showing honor! For my competitive children (and even my non-competitive ones), this was a great way to emphasize their relationships and walk them out through experience. We opened doors for one another, jumped up to help, spoke kind words in heated situations, took over others' responsibilities, and on and on.

I kept a memo app on my phone specifically for this challenge (although you could also use a notebook), to keep track of points. Points were earned when:

a) They memorized Romans 12:9-13 (5 points).
b) Dad or I observed someone showing honor (1 point for each instance).
c) A child reported someone showing honor. Both the child reporting and the child caught honoring received a point. Therefore, it was in their best interest to watch for and share good reports of their siblings! They could not report their own good deeds. Proverbs 27:2a (ESV) says: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.”

We talked about doing good in secret, trusting the Lord would see. I reminded the children that when reporting an honor-sighting, they needed to wait until I'd recorded it on my phone. That way, every instance was credited. My husband and I got in on the challenge as well. We provided two painted jars which we couldn't see inside. When someone noticed Dad or Mom showing honor, they'd find a slip of paper, write their own name on it (as the reporter of good deeds!) and put it in the appropriate jar.

At the end of the 40 days, it was agreed that the child who had the most points (the one who OUTDID the rest!) would go out for a special time with the parent who had the most points! It was amazing to hear, many times throughout the day, reports from our children about their siblings. What a difference from the bickering and tattling! They truly tried to outdo one another in showing honor. Our hope (now that the challenge is all said and done), is that our children will be better at showing honor, kinder with one another, and genuinely love each other.

KAREN ENGSTROM
Covington, Washington, USA
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