By bro Lee Tian Seng
God expects us to show love and affection to our parents (Matthew 10:37), to our spouses (Titus 2:4), to our children (Titus 2:4) and to our siblings (Romans 12:10).
Matthew 10:37 - He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Titus 2:4 - That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.
Romans 12:10 - Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
Especially for children, they need to feel secure, a sense of belonging, and closeness at home. They need to receive affection from their parents. Some parents are focused on providing for their children’s physical needs but neglect to show them love and affection. They shower them with gifts and entertainment but do not show them affection.
How do we show affection for our children? To begin with, parents need to express their appreciation for their children. Some parents act like caring for children is unbearable and a dread. They grumble and complain when they have to do something for them. They should instead be thankful for their children because they are a blessing from God.
Jacob told his brother Esau that God had graciously given him his children.
Genesis 33:5 - And he lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”
The Bible tells us that children are a gift and blessing from God, and that parents should be thankful and happy to have them.
Psalms 127:3 - Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalms 127:5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Is this how we feel about our children? If not, we need to improve our attitude towards them. We need to thank God for our children and express our appreciation for them. When was the last time you said “thank you” or give a gift to your children? Is it time to do it and to do it more often?
When we appreciate our children, then we will show affection to them. Parents should express their affection through words, just as how God has expressed His love for His children. Fathers and mothers must tell their children that they love them.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
1 Thessalonians 2:11 - As you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children.
Parents should not only express their love and affection in words but also in actions. Some parents will say that they love their children but do not want to spend time with them or be there for them.
1 John 3:18 - My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Another way to express affection is through physical touch. Parents should hug and kiss their kids, and tell them they love them. Some parents are not comfortable in expressing love with touch. However, we see that happening in the Bible.
When the brothers Jacob and Esau met after a long separation, they embraced, kissed, and wept.
Genesis 33:4 - But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
Jacob kissed and embraced Joseph’s sons.
Genesis 48:10 - Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them.
When the prodigal son returned home, his father embraced and kissed him.
Luke 15:20 - “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.
We could hug our children and tell them we love them, or put our arms around them. When praying together, we could hold their hands. As a family, we should rejoice with them in times of happiness, and comfort them in times of trouble.
Even our Lord Jesus show affection to others. When little children were brought to Him, He showed affection for them by carrying them and placing His hands upon them.
Mark 10:16 - And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
He also expressed his tender feelings for His companions who were grieving over the death of Lazarus.
John 11:5 - Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
John 11:35-36 - Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Let us, who are parents, show affection for our families, especially to our children.