During our Circle Time yesterday morning, we were reading Romans 12, and I stopped at verses 4-8:

"For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."

It occurred to me that we as a family weren't really considering each member as a unique part of the body.  I re-read the verses and then asked each child what they thought their strength was.

Sometimes other members of our family can see our strengths better than we can, and it was fun to hear brothers and sisters chime in about their siblings' strengths.

I have a friend who often reminds me that we as a church body should be encouraging each other's strengths and protecting one another's weaknesses.  I told my children that.  I have been seeing far too much teasing of weaknesses, or annoyance at each other's annoying traits, rather than gentle forbearance and patient protection of hearts.

It wasn't easy to admit the most prominent weakness.  When I asked my kids what my biggest weakness is, one of the teens answered immediately, "You don't always listen to the whole story."  Ouch.

But.  We are family.  We should be joyfully encouraging the strengths and boldly protecting the weaknesses.  I don't mean excusing the weaknesses.  I mean that we should be patiently, lovingly, gently understanding that something is a weakness in another person rather than allowing that trait to get under our skin.

In a home where Christ reigns and where the members of that particular body are protected by those who love them most, it's ok to be weak.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22