Title: Loving Others
In the August parenting blog post, we discussed Jesus’ response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” We focused on His first response which was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
I want to focus on what He says next. He continued by saying the second greatest commandment is to
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus said loving others is extremely important. It was right after loving God. Loving others can be a very easy task when we think about those that we care about and love; our family, our friends, etc… The problem is when we are put in a position to love people who aren’t very nice. As an adult, I still struggle with this, so how in the world do we teach this to our kids?
The first thing to do is to better understand what it means to love your neighbor. It doesn’t mean always agreeing with people. It doesn’t mean that you place relationship over truth. Love is an action word that means to treat people in a way that honors God.
Ephesians 6:7 says to, “Serve wholeheartedly as if you are serving the Lord, not man.” In Matthew 7:12, Jesus says, “Do unto others what you would have them do to you.” This sounds easy when Jesus says it, but how can we get that across to our kids when it comes to real-life examples?
One of the best ways that I found was to focus on the interactions that Jesus has with people and teaching them to my kids. There are so many great examples: Jesus and the adulterous woman, Jesus and the woman at the well, Jesus forgiving Peter, Jesus and Zacchaeus, Jesus with Mary and Martha, Jesus and the Pharisees, Jesus and His interaction with Paul on the Road to Damascus, Jesus and Nicodemus, to name a few.
Through these interactions, Jesus never affirms ungodly behavior nor does He verbalize acceptance of sinful behavior. He is loving with His words and with His actions regardless of whether the love and kindness is returned.
Loving others isn’t a suggestion, Jesus commands it. As parents, it is our job to teach our children what that looks like in real life. Parents have the best opportunity to teach their children and the best way to teach them is by example.
Our children need to know that:
- We can be loving and kind to those who aren’t kind.
- We don’t have to accept people’s behaviors to love them.
- Every interaction is an opportunity to show God’s love.
- It is always the right time to do the right thing.
- Love is an action word, not a feeling.
Your partner in ministry,
Family Life Pastor