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Love is Like God

June 15, 2005

Dear Pearls,

My children are obedient, intelligent, and hard-working. But somewhere I’ve failed and it’s becoming obvious. My children hate each other. There is never a kind word spoken between them, they hate to work together, fight with an intense dislike, and seem consumed with looking out for themselves alone. My son dominates to the point of being a bully and tyrant, and my daughter uses rejection and solitude. My one-time easy going, happy baby is following in their footsteps. We have clear boundaries of ownership and rights, but the children NEVER play together or share. They don’t even speak to each other. Why? I am always cheerful. I train. My life is centered around meeting their emotional and physical needs, training them to obey, etc... I honor and obey my husband, just as the Bible teaches. My husband works away from home, but he’s a good man, and treats the children well. I can tell he doesn’t really like them, and I don’t blame him - what’s to like? What have I done wrong? How can I make my family love each other?

— Elizabeth

John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

What follows might seem condemning to someone who has made every effort to be a good person, and it is evident that you have. Just swallow hard, say under your breath, “I don’t care, I want Jesus,” and let me tell you about the sweetest thing in all of life.

Many people read To Train Up a Child and assume that it is Mike Pearl’s secret to raising good kids. They are wrong. My Dad’s training principles are the reason we are well trained; just like your children are well trained. But training is not the reason we are good. Training is not the reason we love each other. The secret to Mike Pearl’s real success as a parent is found in his Roman’s series, and other audio Bible teachings. Mike Pearl managed to convey to us (his children) his true love, his hope and joy, his faith and understanding of Jesus Christ. It was not training that birthed my spirit into new life and new living—it was knowing Jesus Christ.

It is clear to me that you are good people; that you train, and live circumspectly. There is but one last step to take before you will find yourself on the road to success as a parent. Religion may look like that final step; but it couldn’t be further from it.

strong in spirit

Those who do not know God recognize those who do by their love for each other. A head covering, a Bible under the arm, habitual politeness, and a whole string of kids mean nothing but “we are religious.” Those things are not bad; but they are not signs of knowing Jesus. Love is.

Children who walk hand in hand, laughing and interacting with each other with absolute enjoyment are a testimony to the Lost that God is in the house. A husband and wife engaged in enthusiastic, open-faced conversation will provoke longing and curiosity in those who do not know God. A whole-hearted smile at an absolute stranger will cause that stranger to wish he knew you, and hope you will talk to him a little longer.

Your children are perceptive. Their spirits know the difference between knowing about God, and really knowing God. You say they hate each other. Why? He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love.

LOVE. Love is like God.

How do you teach love? I’m sure there are some readers that truly do know Jesus Christ in a very personal way, but because of past circumstances and old habits, must learn the new way and practice the motions their hearts are willing to learn. I will list some practical ideas, but before you try them PLEASE listen to the free Roman’s audio download on the site. A clear picture of the person of Jesus will infuse life in the following suggestions.

1) There is an understanding in our home that being a good human being is about meeting other people’s needs. Every action is done to benefit someone else. The house is cleaned so Mama won’t have to work as hard. The back yard is cleaned so Daddy will be glad. Schoolwork projects are done to be folded up and mailed to various grandmothers as a gift. Conversations at the park are to cheer up sad people and show them that God loves them. Playing together is for the other person’s enjoyment. Joe is sent outside to play with Rysha and “be gentle” so she won’t get hurt. Rysha is sent out to play with Joe and “be tough” so she will be fun for Joe to play with. Both of them play with Hannah so she will “learn how to be a kid.” They go to Granny and Grandad’s house to “be thankful, obedient, and happy” so they will be a joy and pride to their grandparents. And amazingly, this world-view is taken to heart with enthusiasm.


Our own goodness is not the focus. The children do not think about whether or not they are being good. Their focus is on being successful at benefitting another human being. Joe helped Rysha put her sandles on; he’s a good brother. Rysha helped Mom set the table; she’s a good helper. Goodness (Godlikeness) is recognized as active love toward another. Just performing duties correctly is not a form of goodness. Only selfless acts of love define the quality of a human being.

2) Serving. If I had a child that was unloving, I would organize every activity in that child’s life to be about serving for several days, until the child performed the “duties of love” successfully. If he rudely dominated conversation, then for several days the game would be to allow/encourage his sister to converse better. If the sister was petulant and manipulative about it, she would have to do something for her brother (bring him a graham cracker, or...) All activities of the day would include serving each other. Sister would serve brother lunch, and vice versa. Brother would make sister’s bed; sister would take off brother’s shoes... etc... For as long as it took, I would tangle their worlds up until automatically serving the other would come without thought. And you should play the game with Daddy. Serve him in an exaggerated way with the children watching. And rather than serving them, make sure they serve each other. When you brag about your kids, brag about what they did for each other, or for you, not what they accomplished alone.

3) Positive attention comes when they are being peaceable and kind, not the opposite. When Joe is talking too much or making too much noise, my communication with him is brief, but not unkind. I simply say, “go outside and water the garden.” The command is not negotiable. I may go out and call him back in 10 minutes later. When he comes back in, he’s more careful to maintain the peace. When Rysha is whiney, I say, “Go get me some...” If she is happy when she comes back, I talk to her a minute and smile at her. If she’s still whining, I give her a light spanking and send her on another errand. The errand serves to take her attention off of herself. Most of the time the errand is sufficient. Giving the selfish child a selfless errand is the opposite reward his flesh was looking for. Isolation and even a spanking does not work on selfishness quite as well, because the focus has not changed. I have found that my children return from their errands with a pleased sense of self-worth and thankfulness. They are not old enough to understand what just happened to their little souls, but their spirits feel the relief of having their flesh denied.

4) Thankfulness. I believe it is important for your children to see your gratefulness to God. They should hear praise and thanksgiving coming out of your mouth continually throughout the day. Thanking God for the weather, the scenery, the groceries, the children, the husband, the neighbors, etc... They need to hear you thanking their father for the work he does, the income he brings home, and his presence in the living room every evening. They need to feel like they are blessed. They will know it by your thankfulness.

And if you don’t know Jesus; find Him. Call out for God’s wonderful salvation. I guarantee, you will find Him sufficient.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

1John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another

1John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

1John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

— Rebekah Joy Anast

Leave a Reply

22 comments on “Love is Like God”

  1. Wonderful! When I read critical reviews of the other articles and books, I'd like to post this link. So many people base their life on religious practices, even of child-raising. And the truth is in the heart's relationship with God. Thank you for posting a beautiful answer.

  2. another idea my friend utilizes is: Set the two bickering children to washing windows. One on the outside and one on inside. It usually doesn't take too long until they are laughing and having a good time together.

  3. A couple at our church has 6 children. They taught their kids to treat each other right like this: On one day, kid#1 is "the boss". He gets to ride in the front seat, assign all chores to whomever he pleases, picks who prays at mealtime, etc. Everyone must obey his every command. The next day, kid#2 is the boss, and so on. I'm sure at first they all took advantage of each other, but saw that "what comes around goes around", and that it's always better to treat each other well. Those kids get along better than most I know. Just thought I'd share that- God bless 🙂

  4. What a wonderful, loving response, rich and thoughtful.
    The love of God shines through your words. Though my children
    are young adults , I found this a very helpful, and wise perspective.

  5. This is so good. I didn't handle my kids just like this, but if I ever saw them treating the other unkind, I always let the one they were being mean to, ask them to do anything they wanted and the other had to do it, but within reason, of course. It might be playing a game or reading them a story or playing outside with them, something of their choice. It worked. My kids get along good and love each other. If they ever argue I never hear it. I never see an attitude with them and they are 14-24 years old. People don't realize that we teach our children how to treat others by beginning at home, loving and respecting each other.

  6. There is a great deal of wisdom is this article.

    I'll re-read it a couple times.

    What really stands out is that you address the root problem, not the symptoms.

    We don't have this problem with our children, but the wisdom you have communicated is worth more study.

  7. I can not express how happy I am with your new website and latest magazine! The photos are gorgeous, the layout is thrilling and the best part is that the content is still the same. I believe that your same, life-changing messages are going to reach twice as many people with the new look that you obviously invested a lot of time and talent in! Thank you for always spreading the truth and working so hard to make it look fabulous!

  8. What an awesome article! This is a revelation I did not have when I raised my children but
    I have a good, close relationship with both of them...I will seek the Lord's help in sharing this
    with them even now. I love this ministry and each of you 'second generation' Pearls is evidence
    of the abundant fruit on the tree of Mike and Debbie pearl. Glory to God!

  9. My 4yr old daughter (single-child) has been refusing to do what she's told, yells at me and mouths off so badly, I get shocked looks everywhere I go. She throws temper tantrums every few minutes. I work full time and my husband stays home with her. Not my choice. I'm reading your articles like crazy but my husband is not obedient to the Lord and so is not in control of his yelling and many times unwarranted sharp rebukes. I fear her increasingly volatile, unloving and ungrateful attitude is much like his now from his daily unintentional "training". I just hope there is still hope despite the only couple hrs per day she gets with me. I read your book "created to be his help meet" so I'm weary of correcting him in front of her but I don't want her to think it's okay to treat her that way - and it's then also okay for her to mimic it. Love your articles and how you consider the soul of the child. God bless you and your family.

  10. This was a perfect & encouraging article -especially to me! That as a mom I am an example to show and give Gods love-His Love leads us to repentance- I will read this to my children to remind them to be loving and a servant like Jesus-Thank you -beautiful article and reminder!

  11. I am so chastised by this article. I didn't raise my children this way. Now that half of them are grown and out of the house, I see the error of my ways. "Service to others" was never my motivation-- well-behaved children was. Thankfully, my husband DID understand service to others, and demonstrates it continuously. That must be the only reason they turned out so well; it certainly wasn't because of my good example. Oh, how I wish I would have understood this before!! I guess my hard heart wasn't ready to accept it until now.

  12. Rebekah, I just had to say a great thank you, thank you so much for your love, time, and wisdom in writing and sharing this ariticle with us. It is one of the best ones that I have ever read. We will be applying the scripture in this way in our family from here on out!
    Oh, and I also love and appreciate the updated website! It's fantastic! The colors joyful and welcoming, and it's so easy to navigate.

  13. Your answer to me exemplifies what your whole ministry is about--awesome! I appreciate that you point out that you can train your kids all you want but without gaining their heart and pointing their hearts to Christ you've missed the whole point. Like someone already said, THIS is what critics of your ministry are totally missing. A friend of mine just loaned me the first volume of "No Greater Joy" and I am really enjoying it. THANK YOU for your ministry.

  14. This has to be one of my favorite articles I have read in a long time! I LOVE the examples you gave and how you addressed the root of this issue. I have two boys, 3 & 9, whom get along for the most part but recently have been purposely not being as sweet as they should be by actions and words. I have spanked and was really needing some guidance. You hit home to what is needed. Thank you!

  15. Thank you so very much for your wise counsel. My children were being extremely nasty to one another and generally making the entire household unpleasant. Within moments of reading this I began asking them to serve each other (it was dinner time) and immediately the attitudes changed and they began laughing, joking and we had a pleasant dinner ( of course we did pray at dinner as well). I am going to continue this course of action and continue visiting your website for more great parenting tips. Thank you!

  16. I have listened to the Romans study and it was awesome! Our God is awesome!!!! Jesus is so beautiful!!!
    I then came across a book called “Give them grace” on Gospel-centred parenting. Have you seen it? I have just begun reading it and it looks like a must-read so far.

  17. This is so awesome! I shared this with my mom immediately (I'm still living at home, but I really wanted her to read it since it could be useful with my other siblings.) You Pearls have such a wonderful ministry! Thank you so much! Keep going!